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FrontLspiece.] Rulcmini at the halhing-i)lace. 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 



UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA SAN DIEGO 



3 1822 02503 0107 
B XTale of 1bint)u domestic Xife. 



K. VIRESALINGAM, PANDIT. 



TRANSLATED BY 

J. ROBERT HUTCHINSON. 



GENERAL MACDONALD, 

LATE DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION, MADRAS PRESIDENCY, INDIA. 



LONDON : 
ELLIOT STOCK, 62, PATERNOSTER ROW, E.C. 

1S87. 



Digitized by tlie Internet Arcliive 

in 2007 witli funding from 

IVIicrosoft Corporation 



littp://www.arcli ive.org/details/fortuneswlieeltalOOvireiala 



TKANSLATOR'S PREFACE. 



That stronghold of Hinduism, the native home, has 
never yet been carried. It stands impregnable within 
rugged walls of caste prejudice and ancestral usage. 
The barriers it opposes to the inquisitive outsider — 
barriers of race, caste, and religion — are barriers of 
steel ; slowly corroding now, it is true, but still effect- 
ually strong to prevent curious intrusion. In this 
citadel of the Hindu people hangs the key to their 
hearts and minds and lives ; and of this key the excluded 
foreigner can never hope to possess himself. Our 
knowledge of the domestic economy and social life of 
the Hindu family must, under existing circumstances, 
come from within the home itself. 

Apart from its intense interest as a work of fiction, 
the following tale (written by a high-caste Hindu) is, 
in this respect, of special value. It is the * open 
sesame ' before which the door of the Hindu abode flies 
open, revealing the complete inner life of a representa- 
tive Hindu family — their home, dress, food, worship, 
modes of thought and speech, joys and sorrows, loves 
and hates, hopes and fears ; their simple, unquestioning 
piety, so strangely blended with rank superstition ; the 
secluded quiet of their existence ; their calm stoicism 
and unmurmuring resignation to the decrees of fate. 
In a word, the tale unlocks the street-door, introduces 
the reader to the inmates, shows him over the house. 



iv TRANSLATOR'S PREFACE. 

and makes him feel quite at home notwithstanding the 
bewildering strangeness of his surroundings. 

The numerous live social questions of the day in 
India have their origin in this seclusion of all domestic 
life within four walls. Nor does the writer ignore this 
important fact. The subject position of women, and 
their education ; the inhuman treatment and wretched 
condition of widows ; the quackeries of native char- 
latans, the consequent sufferings of the sick, and the 
opening thus presented for trained physicians of both 
sexes ; child-marriage, with all its heartless intrigue and 
unnatural horrors ; the remarriage of unfortunate child- 
widows — these and many kindred topics are treated 
powerfully and with enlightened good sense. While to 
crown all, the story into which these topics are woven 
is of intense interest and thoroughly Hindu. 



INTRODUCTION 



Complaints are sometimes made that the educated 
natives of India have not done as much as they ought 
for the improvement of their vernacular literature. The 
Pandits, it is said, must be expected to work in their 
old groove, but something new ought to be produced hy- 
men who have been brought in contact with the liter- 
ature of Europe, and have had the advantage of study- 
ing models unknown to their countrymen. Every 
effort to remove this reproach must be viewed with 
interest, or at least with indulgence. Kandukuri Vire- 
salingam, Telugu Pandit of the Government College at 
Eajahmundry, who has had the advantage of receiving 
some English education, some years ago conceived the 
idea of translating the ' Vicar of Wakefield ' into Telugu, 
but eventually decided on writing a tale of Hindu 
domestic life, in which the scene is laid in his own dis- 
trict, and little or nothing is borrowed from Goldsmith 
beyond the general idea of a family in easy circum- 
stances reduced to poverty. Himself an ardent re- 
former, he has made his story a vehicle for exposing the 
evils of child-marriage and the miserable condition of 
Hindu widows. He shows us how large a part a belief 
in astrology, omens, fortune-telling, magic and witch- 
craft plays in Hindu life. He takes us into Ilukmini's 
sick-room and exhibits the absurdity of the treatment 
to which she is subjected by a celebrated native prac- 
titioner. The tricks of religious impostors are satirized 



vi INTRODUCTION. 

in the episodes of the roguish Byragi, who professes to 
be an alchemist, and of the sanctimonious Yogi, who is 
in league with a gang of robbers. The Guru Sri Chi- 
dananda Saukarabharati-swami exemplifies the rapacity 
and licentiousness of the class of spiritual teachers of 
whom he is a type. 

The English reader must not expect to find any traces 
of the delicate delineation of character and quiet humour 
which give such a charm to Goldsmith's inimitable idyl. 
The main value of the book lies in its minute de- 
scriptions of that domestic life which is so imperfectly 
known to Europeans. We sit down in the choultry on 
the banks of the Godavery and hear the flatteries ad- 
dressed to the rich man of the village by his obsequious 
friends. We listen to the gossip of the women, who 
have come down to draw water and perform their 
ablutions. We follow Eajasekhara into his house ; we 
see his wife grinding sandal- wood, and his niece cook- 
ing the midday meal. We observe how he is sponged 
on by distant relatives and perfect strangers. We hear 
him importuned for additional subscriptions for the 
support of the worship of Janardana-swami, who, like 
the gods of a good many other shrines, has seven 
putties of land, of which five go to the dancing- women 
and two to the priests. We see the silent disapproval 
with which Eajasekhara's attempts to educate his 
daughter are viewed at a period when reading and 
writing were considered accomplishments suited only to 
courtesans. We watch him and his boy listening to 
the poor Sastri, who comes in lo expound the Maha- 
bhtirata. We see Eajasekhara gradually sinking into 
poverty, and at last compelled to mortgage his house 
and set out with his family on a pilgrimage to Benares. 
He never, howevei', gets further than Peddapuram, 
and after some adventures returns a wiser man to his 
old home. 

In the course of the narrative we have some pleasing 
descriptions of local scenery. We go into the temples 
and mingle with the crowds during the celebration of 



INTRODUCTION. vu 

various religious festivals. We are introduced to the 
Courts of two Eajahs. We hear of some rather im- 
probable adventures with tigers. The incidents are 
perhaps scarcely of a character to prove very attractive 
to the ordinary novel-reader, and a less faithful trans- 
lation might have given the book a better chance of 
success in the circulating library, but not success of a 
desirable kind. 

Eajasekhara set out on his pilgrimage in 1618-1619. 
At this period the white strangers were not far off, for 
they had already commenced trading at Masulipatam 
and Nizampatam ; but there are no references to them in 
the story, nor do we come across a single Mussulman, 
although Ramamurti does ask the astrologer how long 
the country is to remain under the yoke of the foreigner. 

During the two centuries and a half which have 
elapsed since the period to which the tale relates, the 
face of the country has undergone great changes. At 
Dhavalesvaram, where the story opens, the magnificent 
stream of the Godavery is now spanned by the great 
anient constructed by Sir Arthur Cotton, and the dis- 
trict is covered with a network of canals, which fertilize 
the fields and carry boatloads of travellers with an ease 
undreamt of in the days of Eajasekhara. Broad roads 
run through tracts which were once covered with 
jungle, and, since the establishment of Sir William 
Eobinson's police, such highway robberies as that de- 
scribed by the author have ceased to be common. 
English education is slowly undermining the ancient 
faith. But the external aspect of Hindu society changes 
very slowly. The life described in the story is the life 
of the present day. The author has drawn most of his 
pictures from the scenes among which he is living. It 
is this realism which gives the book whatever merit it 
possesses. 

Owing to the excellence of the Telugu in which it is 
written, and the insight which it gives us into native 
manners, the original story may be perused with ad- 
vantage by young civilians, military officers, mission- 



viii IRTRODUCTION. 

aries, and other persons whose duties require them to 
study the language. A translation of this Telugu 
novel, by the Eev. J. E. Hutchinson, has recently 
appeared in the pages of the Madras Christian College 
Magazine, and is now presented in a more permanent 
form to the English public. 

It is to be hoped that the reception accorded to his 
first work may be of such a character as to encourage 
him to persevere in his efforts. Missionaries have done 
a great deal to bring India closer to England, but there 
is still much to be achieved, and a friendly welcome 
should await every fresh labourer in this wide field of 
usefulness. 

K. M. Macdonald. 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 



CHAPTER I. 

Dhavalagiri — Description of the Temple — Rajasekhara sitting in the 
Rest-house on the Bank of the' Godaveri at Early Morning — The 
Flatteries of the Astrologer and others who resort there — All go 
together to the Feet of Rama to see the Byragi. 

Near Sri Nassakatryambaka, somewhere in the far East, 
the Godaveri river has her birth in a lofty mountain. 
Sparkling with the scintillations of her rings and 
wristlets, she meanders along the valleys on the slopes 
of Bhubhrudvara, her birthplace, and, tarrying a little, 
glides from thence gently onward, filling the eyes of all 
beholders with delight. Then flaunting sauciiy with 
sweet though indistinct utterances, she runs swift as an 
arrow, and, reaching the mighty trees, flouts the parent 
roots to dally with their younger offspring. Again, she 
plays hide-and-seek among the bulrushes ; then escapes 
and journeys through Vidarbha and adjacent territories, 
refreshing all, whether young or old, and furnishing so 
abundant a supply of water for drinking and bathing 
that the fault is theirs alone who, coming that way, 
refuse to take it. She vivifies and renders fruitful the 
crops and fruit-trees in every place where she sets her 
foot ; adonis the whole land on either bank, as far as 
her coolness extends, with soft green grass; provides 
food for vast herds of cattle ; welcomes to her embrace 

1 



2 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

the Varada, Manjira, Pinnaganga, and other rivers, 
which hear her coming from afar and rush by many 
roads to meet her, bearing as tribute fruits of the desert 
and peacock plumes ; views from afar that white moun- 
tain in the neighbourhood of Eajahmundry which has 
attained celebrity as the richest gem of the Telugu 
country, and, betraying her depth the more as she 
comes on and on seeking her husband, rushes melo- 
diously along its base to pay her respects to Janar- 
dana-swami * who dwells upon the summit, and 
immediately stretching out from thence her hands (in 
the form of two branches), gains the coveted boon and 
coyly joins her lord. 

This mountain is not of great height; but, being 
composed of white mica rock, is a veritable wonder to 
behold. It is on account of these same rocks that it 
bears the name Dhavalagiri, or White Mountain. On 
the south side are built stairs of black stone from the 
base straight up to the brow of the hill. On either side 
of these extend up the slope, in a line that delights the 
eye, the dwellings of priests and other devotees of 
Vishnu. These stairs ascended, there appears upon the 
summit a small but beautiful temple of black stone. 
Around this on three sides extends a wall of about the 
lieight of a man. On the north side, however, instead 
of the wall the horn of the mountain itself shoots up- 
ward, and affording the walls a shelter at its base, 
towers above them and peeps over the dome of the 
temple itself. Within this enclosure, to the north, 
is a small cave. The ancients say that when of 
old the princes of the house of Pandut lived as 
hermits, they sat here and did penance. There was 
in it at the time of our story a small stone image. 

* An epithet o£ Vishnu. Svvami is a general term for objects of 
worship. 

f The princes of the house of Pandu. Pandu was the half-brother of 
D'aritarashtra. Having incurred a curse in consequence of killing a 
.stag, he retired to the Himalayas, where he died. Here he had sons 
born to him by his wives, the progeny of deities — Yudhishthira, Bhima, 
Arjuna, Nakula, and Sahadeva. 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 3 

On tlie feast-days of this god, which throughout the 
remainder of the year moulders without offering or ad- 
oration, the priest brings it out, cleans it with tamarind- 
water, and places a small lighted lamp in the divine 
presence. Then, standing in the entrance of the cave, 
he takes a penny a head from the crowds of people who 
come on pilgrimage from the surrounding hamlets, goes 
within and worships the god, and dismisses them with 
the assurance that their ancestors have been blessed.* 
No sooner do the half-dozen nuptial days of Janar- 
ilana-sivanni come to an end than the priests place him 
as usual among the ropes of his car, and station the little 
god as sentry over him. This minor deity, though 
possessing neither salary nor means of daily subsistence, 
moves not a foot, but steadfastly stands guard day and 
night ; while the priests, through faith in liim, live a 
life free from anxiety or necessity for entering the 
cave again until next year this rope business comes 
round once more. But though irreligious man thus 
fail to wait upon the god, the little four-footed beasts 
that guard the mountain pay their pious homage con- 
stantly to the deity ; and until men return on feast- 
days and commit so great a sin as to drive them out, 
make their very bed at night before the god on the bare 
floor of the cave. 

Within the enclosure, on the eastern side, there stands 
before Janardana-swami a lofty standard. The tiny 
bells upon its top for ever sway back and forth in the 
breeze, and delight the ear with their sweet music. At 
the base of the shaft, facing the god with joined hands, 
stands an image of Anjaneya.-f* To the north of this 

* The Hindus practise ancestor-worship. They believe that such 
worship as that mentioned above accelerates the progress of the soul to 
heaven. One of their poets thus satirizes the practice : 

' If offerings of food can satisfy 
Hungry departed spirits, why supply 
The man who goes a journey, with provisions ? 
His friends at home can feed him with oblations.' 

t The chief of the deified monkeys, and an ally and spy of Rama. 

1—2 



4 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

stone image and the standard is a nuptial porch. On 
the wedding-days of the god they seat the processional 
images in this porch, and conduct the whole marriage 
ceremony with the utmost pomp* 

In each fortnight of the month.t on the night of the 
eleventh day, occurs the praise-service of Alshnu. 
The Vaishnavas assume their rosaries of tulasi beads,]; 
plaster on the twelve perpendicular marks,§ and, fin- 
gering their lutes to the braying of cymbals and drums 
and shouting with all their might the names of their 
tutelary deity—' Butter Thief !' '0 Enjoyer of the 
Shepherdesses !' ' Lover of Eadhika !' ' Shep- 
herd Boy !' II sing the exploits of Krishna, and chew 
pepper-corns and lumps of sugar between whiles to relieve 
their hoarse throats. With wagging heads the devotees 
put forth all their strength and play so hard that fre- 
quently the drums and cymbals are broken. It often 
happens, too, that one or two of the more pious fall into 
a trance by divine inspiration, and lean back upon the 
pillars behind for several minutes at a time, insensible. 
To foreigners who do not at all understand this sort 
of devotion, their actions at such times seem like the 
antics of madmen ; but as for the people who come 
to see the show — the more the devotees yell with 
distorted features, the greater saints they consider 
them. 

If anyone take the trouble to climb the mountain 

* The marriage of the principal Hindu deities is celebrated once a 
year. Idols are of two classes — processional, or movable, and fixed 
images. The image of Anjaneya is an example of the latter. 

f Each lunar month has two pakshas, or periods of two weeks. Tlie 
first is called the sukla or light, the second the krishna or dark, 
fortnight. 

% The sacred basil {ocymiim sanctum), a plant worshipped by the 
Hindus. 

§ The twelve perpendicular marks wora by Vaishnavas. Three 
each are drawn wth wet ashes of cow-dung upon the forehead, 
shoulders, and breast. 

I! These names are twenty-four in number, and are drawn from tlie 
chief exploits of that jolly god, Krishna, when incarnate. Radhika 
was his aunt, and a favourite mistress during his residence among the 
cowherds. She was also wife of Ayana Ghosha, the Nameless. 



FORTUNES WHEEL. 5 

at mid-day and direct his gaze to the four quarters 
of the heavens, he will behold a veritable feast for 
the eyes. Along the mountain-side the goats, erect 
upon their hind-legs, nibble the foliage of the bushes, 
while their vari-coloured kids frolic nimbly before them. 
To the east and south, among a seeming heap of 
thatched houses, towers aloft an occasional tiled roof, as 
in derision of its meaner neighbours. To the north the 
field- watchers shout ' Ko ! Ko !' from their elevated 
perches, and whirl their rattles to frighten away the 
numerous flocks of birds. Of these, many varieties 
rise from the neighbouring groves into the sky, uttering 
their sweet calls, and when opportunity affords break 
off the milky heads of unripe grain and light again 
upon the branches of the trees to eat. Here, too, the 
herds of cattle in the meadows crop the blades of grass 
between whiles, or wholly stop grazing and with their 
calves stand listening, their ears erect, necks out- 
stretched, and hearts melting at the songs of the shep- 
herd boys who sing to the melodious accompaniment of 
the pipe in the shade of the trees. On the west the 
rays of the sun, falling upon the clear waters of the 
parent Godaveri, produce diamond-glintings in all direc- 
tions ; while many varieties of aquatic birds bob up and 
down upon the surface like puff-balls as they skim 
along the eddies catching fish. 

On the bank of the Godaveri, near the base of this 
mountain, the Feet of Eama have come to light neatly 
imprinted in a black stone slab. Everyone believes 
these to be the prints of the very feet that trod the 
path near this mountain, when of old Sri Eama went to 
the hermitage with Sita and Lakshmana. Pilgrims, 
desirous of visiting the Feet of Eama, journey hither 
even from distant countries. Here, near Ramans shrine, 
they bathe in Mother Godaveri, climb the mountain 
and offer fruit and alms to Janardana-swami accord- 
ing to their several ability, or if they have the means, 
even make a feast to the god, and go their way 
again. 



6 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

Since they have made this a meritorious shrine, all, 
without difference of creed or' caste, receive the sour 
rice, rice and curd, and other oblations offered to the 
god, and apply them to their eyes and eat them on the 
spot; and as it is a misdemeanour to wash off what 
sticks to the hands, they paint the pillars and walls of 
the temple with their palms as high as they can reach, 
and then polish the backs of their hands and their 
cloths with what still remains. 

For a short distance on the south and east of the 
mountain extends a village. Formerly this village bore 
the name of the hill itself; but at present they call it 
Dhavalesvaram. Just where the steps leave the hill, 
on the lower side of the high-road, stands the Temple of 
Sri Agastesvara-swami. The local legend says that 
of old Agastju crushed the pride of the Vindhya 
Mountains, and, proceeding south, established this deity 
here.* Between the temple and the hill there extends 
from east to west, as far as the Godaveri, a broad high- 
way. At the extremity of this street steps of black 
stone are built down to the water's edge ; and near 
the steps, to the east of the road, is a building called a 
rest-house. It was originally intended for foreign 
Brahmans and other travellers to pass the night in ; but 
finally came to be used only as a place of idle resort 
for the leading men of the village, who were in the 
habit of gathering there daily at morning and evening 
to pass the time in gossip. 

The sun on rising one morning decorated himself as 
usual with his rouge bottu,f and gilded the tree-tops 
until he made them gleam as though they had blossomed 
into golden water. The birds with loud cries were 
leaving their nests, and flying off' in all directions in 
quest of food. The shepherd boy (his lunch tied up in 

* Agastyu is a celebrated personage in Hindu legend. He is fabled 
to have razed the A'indhya Mountains, and to have drunk the ocean 
dry. 

f A distinctive caste -mark placed upon the forehead by the Hindus 
after bathing. 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 7 

a bundle) was driving his cattle to the green meadows ; 
while behind, the girls, baskets in hand, raced one 
another shouting, ' The white cow's dung is mine !' 
or ' The dun bufialo's dung is mine !' The farmers with 
goad on shoulder were driving their ploughs respectively 
afield, when a stout, middle-aged man, wearing his sacred 
thread after the manner of a necklace and carrying a brass 
drinking- vessel in his left hand, came wading to the bank 
after having washed his feet and hands in the Goda- 
veri. Einsing his mouth and ejecting the water, he 
arranged his sacred cord according to custom on the left 
shoulder, and came and sat down in the rest-house 
upon the bank. Here he proceeded to clean his teeth 
with a bit of crabstick which he had brought along in his 
drinking-cup when he came. His age was about forty. 
Had it not been for the small-pox pits upon it, there 
need have been no hesitation in pronouncing his face 
handsome. As it was, it was not at all unworthy of the 
blatant flatteries of those prophets who constantly 
visited him. In stature he was somewhat short 
and corpulent. His forehead was broad, leading be- 
holders to think him a j^andit* He had on at the 
time a cloth of a watery-reddish tint. A laced cloth, 
newly washed, wound loosely about his head and hung 
down a little way behind. Except a small pair of diamond 
earrings in his ears, a gold ring in the form of a tuft of 
darbha grass which, on the ring-finger of his right 
hand, testified to the fact that he was a strict formalist,t 
and two silver rings on the forefinger, there were no 
ornaments whatever about his person. His name was 
Itajasekhara. By the time be had performed his facial 
ablutions a number of the inhabitants of the village 
came up. Saluting these as became their respec- 
tive rank, he motioned them with his hand to be 
seated. Expressing their thanks profusely and begging 

* A man of education. 

t The darbha ( Poa cynosuroidea) is a sacred grass used in worshipg 
Brahmans who are strict in the observance of the ritual wear a gold rin. 
in the form of a tuft of this grass. 



8 FORTUNE'S WHEEL, 

liim to sit down first, they crowded the rest-house 
full. 

' Astrologer,' said Rajasekhara, opening the conversa- 
tion, ' you have entirely ceased visiting me of late. I 
suppose everybody is quite well at your house V 

' Thank you, thank you,' replied the astrologer ; ' by 
your honour's favour we are all quite well. What can 
such people as we lack while your honour (a very jewel 
of the Lord !) is in the village ? You are capable of pro- 
tecting any number of families and supplying them with 
food and clothing. It is simply through our good fortune 
and the merit of our former existence,* that such bene- 
factors as your honour deign to favour our village with 
their presence.' Then, turning to Eama-sastri, 'Of 
course it isn't the proper thing for me to praise him 
to his face ; but, you must understand, Eajasekhara is 
simply divine.' 

Eama-sastri signified his assent to this remark by a 
low laugh. ' Is there,' said he, ' any doubt of that ? Is 
it necessary that you tell me this ? It is only because 
he is in the place that we are able to remain. Other- 
wise, wouldn't it have been necessary long before this 
for us to leave house and home and get off to foreign 
lands ? Since his honour's father settled here this has 
been something like a village ; but before that it had 
neither " a local habitation nor a name." ' 

Thus whenever a good opportunity offered, he mixed 
in a few of his own praises as a spice to those of the 
astrologer, and that, too, without any attempt at hiding 
his learning. 

' Astrologer,' said Eajasekhara, inwardly well pleased, 
but adroitly concealing liis real feelings, ' I heard the 
other day that signs of possession had shown them- 
selves in your — second daughter, I think ? Is she any 
better V 

At this inquiry the astrologer's face betrayed con- 

* Hinduism teaches that all good or bad fortune in this life is the 
ruit of the merit or demerit of actions performed in a previous exist - 
fnce" 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 9 

siderable anxiety. After a moment's reflection lie sliook 
his head, and replied : ' I am having Josyula Kama- 
vadhanulu exorcise her;* but so far it has had no 
effect whatever. According to her horoscope, too, the 
influence of Saturn is just now adverse to her. So, to 
see what that will do, I'm having my younger brother 
offer prayer to the nine planets.-f But not satisfied 
with that even, I have myself been pursuing Kama- 
vadhanulu, and importuning him to undertake the 
repetition of the tnantra to Hanuman the Five- 
Faced, t and to perform a more efficacious exorcism, 
telling him that if anything is needed for the success of 
the rite, I'll give a few rupees, even though I have to 
catch some Eajasekhara or other, and carry him o& nolens 
volens to do it. This is the only reason I have for not 
calling of late ; otherwise, would I not have managed to 
visit you by some means or other ?' 

' Sastri,' replied Eajasekhara, ' you need not hesitate 
so far as the rupees are concerned. I'll give the 
whole four if necessary. And even if it takes another 
four you must look out for a good doctor. In our village 

Kamavadhanulu ' and glancing up at the sky he fell 

to reflecting on something or other. The astrologer's 
flattery was never lost upon Eajasekhara. It never took 
hold in vain, being always sure to bring more or less of 
a return in the shape of hard cash. 

Neither in Dhavalesvaram nor in the surrounding 
villages was there another astrologer. People were or 
ever coming to his house to ask him to fix an hour 
for a journey, or to ascertain what time was unlucky, 
or what day was best for dividing and putting on a 
new cloth ; what month was favourable for commencing 
the building of a new house, or what day of the week 

* By applying ashes of cowdung, held sacred by the Hindus. 

t The five major planets, the sun and moon, and liahu and Ketu 
(the moon's ascending and descending nodes), are the nine (/rakan or 
heavenly bodies that appear to move. Each is supposed to have good 
or evil influences. 

+ Hanuman, the monkey-god, an ally and spy of Rama. His mantra 
(incantation) must be repeated one hundred thousand times. 



lo FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

propitious for having a shave ; to beg him to determine 
the period for a wedding, or name the star at the occur- 
rence of puberty. If they wished to know how long 
the defilement must continue when distant relatives 
died ; if they desired to ascertain how long it was neces- 
sary to leave the house wlien anyone departed this life 
under an evil star ; if they wished to learn what propi- 
tiatory rite was proper when a child was born in the 
fourth and similar lunar mansions — it was indispensable 
that they consult the astrologer. N"o matter what 
farmer's cattle strayed ; no matter in whose house any 
article was missing; he would come without fail and 
consult the astrologer. On all such occasions as these 
he would spread sand on the ground in the street porch, 
write certain talismanic letters and numbers in it with 
the straw of a broom, look up for a moment as in deep 
reflection, and tlien dismiss the questioner with the 
assurance that so and so had happened, or that the 
affair would occur in such and such a manner. He also 
prognosticated the results of the fall of lizards and other 
reptiles, and by auguries foretold the time when au 
addition might be expected to the family. In short, in 
all the villages of that vicinity no event, whether aus- 
picious or inauspicious, came off without the advice of 
the astrologer. His forecasts most frequently turned 
out to be sheer falsehood ; but since now and then some 
things came true by mere coincidence, the people be- 
lieved his word to be infallible. 

One of the number then in the rest-house observing 
quietly that ' hyragis* were adepts at witchcraft,' Eaja- 
sekhara turned to the astrologer and remarked : ' By the 
way, as soon as you mentioned hyragis it occurred to 
me that I heard a report that some hyragi or other had 
come to this place some ten days ago. Shouldn't you 
show the child to him ? The medicinal roots and 
empirics of the ascetics are well known to these 
Gosains.f No matter how incurable the disease may 

* Religious mendicants— /aKr-s-. 

+ Secular monks or fakirs, who never marry, and who live in monas- 
teries. 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. n 

be^ they rid you of it in a trice.' ISTo sooner had he 
uttered these words than the whole rest-house was filled 
with cries of ' Good !' ' True !' ' He should certainly do 
as you say •' Let only a speaker be rich — even the 
most senseless utterance is sure to be counted worthy 
of applause. So Eajasekhara, made bold by these 
words, lauded the hyragi to the skies, even though he 
himself had never seen him. 

The astrologer dissembled on his features a pleasure 
which he did not feel at heart, and smiled u bland 
smile. ' At your honour's mere word,' said he, joining 
his hands with an appearance of humility and fixing his 
eyes on Eajasekhara's face ; ' at your honour's mere 
word our little one's trouble is gone. It is certainly 
through her good luck alone that this advice emanated 
from my lord's countenance. In accordance with your 
honour's kind permission I will proceed at once to the 
hyragi,' and he rose as though about to go. No sooner 
did Eajasekhara's opinion become somewhat generally 
known, than the whole assembly was overwhelmed in 
praises of the hyragi. He was, they asserted, a most 
magnanimous man ; an eminent magician ; one who 
subsisted on air and did penance in the burning heat 
of summer in the midst of five fires. When a great 
man votes another a good fellow, who will rise in 
opposition? what tongue will grope in search of 
fiatteries ? 

Just then Eajasekhara looked towards the street and 
remarked : ' Some women have come for water, and seeing 
us here have modestly retreated a few steps and stand 
looking aimlessly at one another. Come, let us all go 
and see the hyragi.' 

At this signal all arose, and proceeded together up the 
street in the direction of the Feet of Eama. 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 



CHAPTEE II. 



Rajasekhara's daughter, Rukmini, comes to bathe — Description of the 
River-bank — Conversation between Rukmini and the AHtrologer's 
Wife — The Gossip of the Maids and Matrons who come for Water — 
A Panchaiii/a Brahmin comes and repeats Mantras — Rukmini bathes 
and goes Home. 

When Eajasekhara and the group of townsfolk had 
proceeded half a dozen steps on their way, a lovely girl, 
gathering her mantle deftly about her, and hanging her 
head to conceal a face on whose features modesty and 
shyness vied with each other, came straight down the 
steps with pretty graceful movement. The silver anklets 
upon her feet tinkled in unison with the music of her 
toe-rings ; while the glittering silver belt about her 
waist and the golden and jet bracelets upon her wrists 
were reflected in picturesque hues by the copper cup 
that glinted in her right hand. Placing this cup at 
the water's edge, she removed a lump of saffron stuck 
on its rim and rubbed a little upon her body, laid a 
tiny packet of rouge she had brought wrapped up in a 
leaf on a stone for washing clothes, and waded knee- 
deep into the stream. She was Eajasekhara's eldest 
daughter, Eukmini. Ah me ! The eyes so blessed as 
actually to gaze upon her beauty were eyes indeed ! At 
that time among all the fair daughters of Ind the women 
of the Telugu land were unsurpassed in outline, grace, and 
blandishments. Among these, again, the women of the 
Brahman caste were by far the most debonair. But at 
the mere recollection of Eukmini's form all must hesitate 
to assert that these fair ones were in the least degree 
beautiful. In truth, I know not how to describe her 
beauty ; for if the choicest of those who were con- 
fessedly handsome were selected and placed beside her, 
she would certainly prove them but ugly wenches. And 
it is an insult, I ween, to the majesty of her prettiness 
for me, unworthy in any sense to [be compared with 
Kalidas and those other poets of old who possessed so 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 13 

divine an afflatus, to presume to paint her lofty beauty 
in a tongue destitute of phrases fitted to express it, and 
without the ability to depict it even as faithfully as 
existing phrases permit. Yet when a worthy object is 
found, it should not be abandoned without at least an 
attempt at description. And so I had thought, by com- 
paring the symmetry of her limbs with some natural 
object, to suggest it, in a slight degree at least, to the 
imagination of the readers of this book ; but again, when 
T consider her parts, I am ashamed even to utter that 
object's name. In a word, all who beheld her considered 
that even the Four-faced Creator himself could not fail 
to nod his approval of her form (a literal freak of 
Nature !) and praise his own creative skill. As regards 
her complexion, gold had no colour in the world when 
compared with it. Granting a bow to be black, it may 
be said that her eyebrows resembled it in a slight degree. 
Merely to see her eyes was to declare that Venus dwelt 
therein. But, had you examined the lineaments of her 
face closely, they would have indicated slightly that 
some fixed grief occupied the throne of her heart. That 
grief was not without cause ; some months before, her 
husband, unfaithful, had clandestinely gone off to foreign 
parts. 

She was now fourteen years old, and, like fragrance 
joined to gold,''^ already young womanhood lifted its 
head and added lustre to the elegance of her person. 
The white mantle, too, that she now had wrapped about 
her, gave a sort of grace, as blistered alum to gold. 
What does not become beautiful when worn by the 
fair ? She also wore a jewel in her nose, gold ear-rings 
set with sapphires, finger-rings, a necklace, a silver belt 
about her waist, and on her feet tinkling anklets and 
toe-rings. Various-coloured glass bangles and jet brace- 
lets decked her wrists as a set-off to the rings. Whether 

* The Dvipada Prabhu liaa a vei-se which says : ' Marvellous as 
would Ije fragrance in gold. ' The Telugu poets frequently mention the 
fancy that, were gold endowed with fragrance, it would be perfect 
indeed. ' Why should iiowder be perfumed and gold scentless ?' 



14 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

these jewels added any beauty to lier limlDS, I know not; 
but 'twas as plain as the palm of one's hand that the 
limbs gave additional charm to the jewels. 

Deity, being impartial, grants perfection to no created 
object, but leaves each defective. So he permitted one 
flaw even in the beauty of Rukmini. If it may truly be 
called such, her sole imperfection was a rather long 
neck. Nevertheless, whenever Mustiserva-sastri came 
for alms, he would benignly smile at sight of this same 
neck, and read from his book of palmistry : 

' A long-necked wench, the sages state, 
Endows her house with riches great.' 

Near by, standing in the water up to her middle and 
mumbling a prayer, was a widow who now and then 
lifted her head and poured out a libation to the sun 
from her joined hands with an obeisance, while occa- 
sionally she performed the triple revolution.* Some 
women who had just come placed their brass waterpots 
in the stream, and, standing upon the stones near the 
shore, beat out their clothes, interjecting an occasional 
word between the blows. An old woman having washed 
one half of her cloth with the other half tied about her, 
put on the washed portion and proceeded to drub the 
part that remained. Some middle-aged women, re- 
moving their jackets and other garments to wash them, 
wrapped about themselves on the spot the wet clothes 
they had already beaten out, and displayed without shame 
to the men who were walking on the bank or bathing in 
the river, those parts of the body which it is proper to 
keep concealed. At a distance of some twenty yards 
beyond, the servant-folk, occasionally lifting their hands 
to frighten away the crows that, cawing, flocked aboutthe 
grains of refuse boiled rice, were scouring the defiled cook- 
ing utensils on the bank. Still higher up, some fishermen, 
clad only in scanty breech-clothes, stood waist-deep in 
the water, where, fastening the net-rope to the cord 
about their middle, they gave the net a twirl with both 

* A religious act indicative of the omnipresence of the Deity. 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 15 

hands and cast it well out into deep water, and then 
drew it gently in again. Others rinsed the hauled nets 
frequently in the stream until all the mud was gone, 
and pulling them to the bank, opened them with a 
shake that made the iron weights on their edges jingle 
again, threw out the gravel and rubbish, and deftly 
catching by the middle the little fish that here and 
there leapt through the meshes of the net, handed them 
to the lads who stood ready, basket in hand, to receive 
them. Half a dozen paces above that again, a lazy 
fellow able to earn six annas a day, mounted upon a 
small boat that lay in the stream and affixed to a hook 
at the end of a string a lump of coagulated blood, called 
a bait. Then standing erect he whirled the line with 
all his might, with his right hand cast it into deep water, 
and seated himself again. With undivided attention he 
watches the line to ascertain when a fish bites ; and, 
whenever it shakes, starts to his feet and gently draws 
in the poor fish which by ill-luck has swallowed and is 
struggling with the hook ; but, fearful that the line may 
break and his captive escape, he lets it run out through 
his right hand and then gradually winds it up as he 
pulls it in again ; and after the fish is played out, draws 
it to the bank with the supreme happiness of a beggar 
who has found a fortune. But just as he gets it to the 
bank the fish snaps the line and makes off; while the 
unfortunate angler, abandoning the coveted prize like 
one who has lost his all, goes home empty-handed, 
grieving the more that he has lost his two-anna hook 
into the bargain. Near the same place some urchins on 
the bank tie a thread to a bamboo twig, and impaling a 
worm upon the hook fastened to the end of it, throw it 
into the stream. Pulling this out with a jerk, they 
seize the tiny fish and string them upon another cord, 
shouting joyfully to one another the while, ' Ho ! I've 
got ten suckers !' ' Say, I've caught four sprats !' A 
thievish kite, perched on a tree near by looking on, 
suddenly swoops down upon the fish the boys have 
slung on the sling, and carries them off in his talons. 



i6 FORTUNES WHEEL. 

An elderly matron, whose whole face was one great 
hothi, removed from her shoulder a waterpot filled with 
cloths, and carrying it in her hand to the place where 
Eukmini stood, said respectfully, ' What, dear ! have 
you condescended to bathe this morning ?' 

'This is karttika Monday,* you see. 'Tis the last 
Monday of the month, and so I came to bathe in the 
Godaveri because I must go with my mother to the 
Temple of Siva at dusk/ 

' Can you do without your meal until evening V 

' What difference does it make for but one day ? I'll 
manage somehow or other. Day before yesterday you said 
your second little girl was ill — is she any better now ?' 

'I don't know that she's any better. My husband 
has been having her exorcised by Kamavadhannlu for 
the past two days. We were kept awake last night 
without a wink of sleep until daylight.' 

' Is she possessed, or what V 

' Yes, dear — what shall I say ? Her husband — but 
there's no one near, is there ?' she asked, looking about 
her; then coming a little nearer she whispered cau- 
tiously in the girl's ear, ' Her husband torments and 
devours her ! You know, don't you ? — it isn't two years 
since her wedding came off'. Her husband died just six 
months after. Ever since then he has haunted her con- 
tinually, appearing sometimes in her dreams, sometimes 
when she is alone at night. The child told no one, but 
kept the thing a secret out of modesty. For a month 
past he has never left her, but follows her day and 
night wherever she goes. What the mischief it is, I 
don't know : but for the last three days he has worried 
and tormented her more than ever. During these three 
days the child has been all but gone. That's the whole 
story ! Is she never ' — suppressing a sigh that burst from 
her bosom and wiping away a tear with the edge of her 
handkerchief, she paused a moment — ' is she never to be 

* The full moon of the eighth lunar Hindu month — October- 
November. It is a festival in honour of Siva's victory over the 
demon Tripurasura. 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 17 

happy with a husband ? Will she never live with him?* 
she faltered, beginning to cry aloud. 

These words touched Eukmini's heart. After a 
moment's agitation she made bold to say, ' You're a 
married woman,* you shouldn't take on so. Be quiet 
— be quiet, do. Does sickness leave mortals and attack 
trees V 

' Oh, miss, she cares for no kind of pleasure. While 
in such a bad way as this she's satisfied if she lives and 
has a cloth to put on. But as long as our two old lives 
last, and we have our health, she shall never want for 
food and clothing,' she said, ceasing to cry. 

Itukmini pondered for a moment before replying. 
' Somidevama, your husband's the ablest astrologer iu 
the village, isn't he ? 'Twas not through ignorance that 
he gave his daughter to one who lived out but half his 
time ' 

' Yes, yes,' cried the matron, interrupting her; ' I know 
what you're going to say. But who is the author of his 
own destiny ? While it is written that she's to be a 
widow, who can save her ? People marry when they 
see that a horoscope is a good one ; but they can't 
endow the bridegroom with life that he hasn't got, can 
they V 

' Ah, perhaps in the horoscope your son-in-law is to 
enjoy long life ?' 

After a moment's reflection the matron replied, ' Long 
life ? Yes, it certainly is long life. Perhaps you ask, 
" Won't it turn out according to the horoscope ?" If 
they fix the time properly and write the horoscope, 
every single syllable in it will come true. But those 
who don't know the science well can't fix the time pro- 
perly, and so make a mess of it. Our people have 
determined so many periods, you see. But tell me, as 
far as you know, whether it has turned out differently 
anywhere else.' 

' Your husband himself fixed the time for the wedding 

* A Telugu proverb says : ' When the good wife weeps, wealth refuses 
to stay at liome.' 



l8 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

of Kannama's Butcliama in our porch ; but when he 
wrote the horoscope of her husband, too ' 

' Yes, sometimes it will happen to miss in that way. 
They say that the curse of Parvati* is on astrology. 
My husband is for ever saying so. But I hear the 
sound of toe-rings on the bank. Some one seems to be 
coming. Let's drop the subject at this,' and turning 
aside she set her waterpot on the bank, and waded into 
the stream to bathe. 

In the meantime a number of housewives and widows 
descend the steps. Those in front, stooping down and 
pulling up their silver anklets a little as they approach 
the water, place their waterpots on the bank and turn 
back to talk with those near until the hindermost come 
up. Women, you see, never have a better opportunity 
to talk over their affairs at leisure than when they all 
come together in one place for water. For this reason 
it is that they usually dally a little and speak the few 
words they have to say whenever they come to the 
river. 

A short female of about thirty years of age made her 
way to the front at that moment, and laying her finger 
along the bridge of her nose, called out, ' I say, Venkama! 
It's reported that Seshama's man beat her last night. 
D'ye hear V 

' Her husband's always beating her in that way. A 
month ago he took a stick and beat her, and broke all 
her bangles.' 

'They say her husband don't care much for her.' 
Then thrusting her finger into her cheek,f she added, ' Do 
you know, woman, it's reported that he keeps a leman?' 

A baldheaded woman came up at that moment. ' It's 
all very well,' said she, gesticulating ; ' but is there 
nothing crooked in her character as well ? They say 
her husband caught her the other day talking with 

* The wife of Siva, and the Hindu Juno. 

J The first gesture is accompanied by an expressive cast of the eye, 
and is used to give a hint. The second has a meaning somewhat 
similar to that of thrusting the tongue into the cheek. 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. I 

Subbavadhani's son. It's no harm, of course, wbat the 
husband does ; but the wife's conduct ought to be proper, 
oughtn't it V 

' What of that V said the short one. ' But they do 
say that poor Chinnaraa's mother-in-law gives her such 
a time of it as never was ! And besides, when her 
husband comes home, she makes up a lot of stuff of 
some kind and tells him. On the strength of this he 
beats her nearly to death every day.' 

' Yes,' said a straw-complexioned girl of sixteen, the 
tears streaming from her eyes ; ' wherever there's a 
mother-in-law alive that's the rule. If all the mothers- 
in-law in the world were to die at once ' 

' I hear, Seshama,' said the short one, * that your 
mother-in-law gives you a hard time of it too. Is it 
true V 

' I don't know either hard times or easy times. I'm 
dying because I can't stand it ! I get up at daybreak 
in the morning, sweep the whole house clean, scour the 
dirty pots, draw all the water needed for the house, 
wash the cloths, and do up all the work by the time 
she rises. Late in the morning she turns out rubbing 
her eyes, and begins scolding me because the ladle isn't 
clean, or the litter in the veranda is just as bad as 
ever. Then until I mix the dung, stick it on the wall 
in cakes, and stretch my wings and come to a late 
breakfast, she keeps declaring the whole while she's 
cooking, "You're ready for your grub before there's 
the least sign of daylight ; but you won't put a hand to 
the work, not you !' It's a crime, you know, if one 
speaks to one's husband by day ; while at night after 
all have had dinner I must shampoo mother-in-law's 
feet ;* and by the time she gets to sleep and I go to lie 
down, it's twelve o'clock. Even after I do lie down I 
keep starting up in my sleep to see if it is dawn, for 
fear that mother-in-law will get mad if the work isn't 
done in time. It makes no difference how I try, the 

* A privilege of dutiful Hindu daughters-in-law. 

2—2 



20 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

scoldings and beatings never fail ;' and slie put up her 
cloth and began to wipe away her tears. 

' Shouldn't you do your everyday work so nicely as 
not to make your mother-in-law angry V asked Ruk- 
mini. 

* Alas, Eukmini ! you have no mother-in-law, and 
so know nothing at all about the matter. No dif- 
ference how much work I do, mother-in-law is never 
pleased. When I sprinkle the cow-dung water on the 
floor, if I spread it thick, " Now," she goes on, " you've 
made a sea of the whole house ; d'ye want me to slip 
and meet my death?" If I sprinkle it thin — "You 
haven't sprinkled any cow-dung water at all 1 — as 
though there was a water famine !" she jeers. If I 
answer when she asks me anything, she snaps me up 
and explodes with — " You contradict what I say ?" If 
I keep quiet and don't answer back, she demands — 
■" What's the reason you won't speak, you blockhead ?" 
Do what you will when she's about, it's a mistake. 
If you yawn, it's a sin ; if you say " Narayana !"* it's 
swearing. A few days ago the old cracked earthen 
waterpot that I've been using ever since I came to live 
here four years ago, went to pieces — she's abusing me 
yet because, she says, I broke a pot that was as new and 
as solid as a stone !' 

' Did you never hear the proverb that says, " The 
mother-in-law breaks the cracked pot, the daughter-in- 
law the new "? ' asked the short one. 

' But what do you see now compared to what I had 
to bear ? You ought to have been around when my 
elder brother's widowed sister was living ! Since she 
died last year of Amma Varu's disease f — bless the god- 
dess's heart ! — I have at least rice to eat regularly three 
times a day. When that girl was alive I didn't have 
even that. I must speak what's so. No matter how 
bad she goes on now, mother-in-law doesn't abuse me 

* A common mantra. 

7 Smallpox, supposed to be a visitation from Amma Varu or Kali, 
to whose ma.liim influence all such diseases are attributed. 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 21 

because I eat my rice regularly, but because I don't 
eat it.' 

' If there were no such people in the world,' said the 
short one, ' how could the saying originate that " Even 
a dough image will dance for joy on its seat if called a 
husband's sister "? ' * 

An old woman who had been making her prayer 
while this was going on, now approached and poured 
out the water in her drinking-vessel muttering to herself, 
* Have your eyes gone blind through the clatter of your 
tongues ? Don't even see that there are some who have 
bathed over here ! You don't care where you splash 
the water ! Some of your dirty water fell on poor 
widowed me, who have just bathed, and here I've got 
to go and dip myself again till I'm like to die in the 
cold.' Wading into deep water she soused herself go- 
splash several times, and came out casting angry glances 
in the direction of the talkers, ' The jades are so stuck 
up they don't recognise their betters. A daughter-in- 
law hasn't a thousandth part as hard a time of it now 
as in my day. No mother-in-law's nice ; no bitter's 
sweet. The wife who has no mother-in-law will be 
good, and the woman who has no daughter-in-law, 
virtuous, anywhere,' she grumbled to herself, as, dashing 
the river water three times on the bank with her joined 
hands, she proceeded a little distance, turned around 
thrice,t and mounting the steps passed out of sight. 

' Ah,' cried Seshama, looking around in terror, ' I 
suppose you women'll tell some one what I've said. 
If my mother-in-law hears it shell surely go and kill 
me. I never had much luck ; but if she hears this, 
'twill leave me altogether. mother Venkama ! 'twould 
be far better to fall into the Godaveri than to live 
such a life as this !' and she began to weep bitterly. 

* Come,' replied Venkama, trying to comfort her, * be 

* The position of the elder sisters of a family is sui)erior to that of 
the brothers' wives. This saying indicates the delightful tyranny of 
the former over the latter. 

t These are devotional acts. 



22 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

quiet ! You shouldn't say such nasty things. The 
fallen are not always bad.' 

' It's half an hour at least since I came to the river,' 
said the girl, drying her tears at this ; ' she'll kill me 
to find out what I've been doing so long. I must go at 
once ;' and filling her waterpot, she placed it on her 
shoulder and walked to the bank. 

Among those who just then reached the river was a 
young woman of twenty summers. Pointing to the 
neck of another who stood near she said, ' What, Kan- 
thama ! Have you just had this necklace new-made ? 
What do you want of it ? You're a poor unlucky lass, 
and so your husband sets you off from head to foot with 
jewels !' 

"Twas only yesterday goldsmith Subbayya finished 
it and brought it home. He's making four strings of 
gold beads besides. Parama, I hear that your man's 
very kind to you — isn't it so V 

' What does it amount to, such kindness ? He doesn't 
have a ten-pagoda jewel made even once a year for me 
to wear, not he ! I suppose the sin I committed in my 
former existence is the reason that in this life I have 
such a ' 

* Parama !' cried another female standing by, ' you're 
giving yourself needless sorrow. Do you ever want for 
food ? Haven't you cloths enough ? While your hus- 
band regards you as a queen, what's the difference if 
you have no jewels ? What's the good of disconsolate 
jewels after one's husband ceases to love one ? simply a 
useless burden ! See what a lot of jewelry Bangarama 
of our village has. Her whole body's covered with 
it. I never even heard the name of some of them. 
But as soon as the lamps are lighted off he goes, her 
husband, and sits in a dancing woman's house. What 
happiness has she ? Your husband never passes the 
street door after dark.' 

' Oh, you're educated and can teach us all the lip- 
morals we need. None of the rest of us have such book 
knowledge as you. But when everybody else puts on 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 23 

her jewelry for the occasion, I'm ashamed to go to a 
party anywhere like a bare stick. I tell you, Jankama, 
if you had such a poor man for a husband as mine ' 

' My good Parama, don't get angry. I meant no harm 
by what I said ;' and filling her pot, she walked away. 

The others also fill their pots with water, and pick 
flaws in their neighbours as they walk home. 

' I say, Papama, the priest's wife, is wearing a queue 
over her temple.' 

' Do see how gracefully the karanam's * girl walks !' 

' I don't know what makes Eamama the Brahman's 
wife so proud, but she won't speak to a body at all' 

'They say that PuUama will talk with a man in 
broad daylight' 

'As sure as you live, Kannama's eye squints a 
little !' 

' Sitama the karanam's daughter hasn't a single 
jewel.' 

What better subjects for conversation than these 
have uncultivated women who know not even the odour 
of education? Save the quarrels of rival wives, the 
evil ways of stepmothers, the unkindnesses of husbands, 
and like matters, the women who were in the habit of 
congregating there had, as a rule, nothing in the wide 
world to talk about. 

Just then a Brahman, who carried in his right hand 
an almanac written on kadjan leaves,t and wore only 
a waist-cloth of soft reddish tint — a small folded upper 
cloth X was thrown over his shoulder — turned suddenly 
and came down the steps, after standing for a moment 
on the bank shading his eyes with his hand to see who 

* The village clerk. 

t Palm leaves prepared for writing upon. The almanac here men- 
tioned is the Hindu panchaiyja, so called from its specifymg Jive 
thiwjs, viz. the lunar day, the day of the week, the sign in which the 
moon is, the conjunction of the planets showing good and bad days, 
and the horoscopes. 

X The usual dress of the Telugus consists of a lower cloth or girdle 
and an upper cloth, for which in these times of English influence a 
linen coat is often substituted. To these are added a turban of gold- 
laced cloth and laced shoes. 



24 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

were bathing in the Godaveri. Both on his face and 
body the lines of sacred ashes were broadly visible ; his 
rosary of rudraksha seeds * each as big as a lemou, 
shone again ; and the snuff-box tucked in at his hip 
swelled out like a small carbuncle. 

' Ptukmini,' he called out, ' make your bath. I'll 
repeat some mantras.' 

' Oh, I haven't brought a single copper.' f 

' Never mind the coppers. You can give them at 
mid-day at the house ' — stooping — ' make achamana X 
— Kesha ! Karayana ! Madha ! Govinda ! — turn your 
face to the east>— towards the sun.' 

' Must I bathe V asked Eukmini. 

' Let me repeat the riiaidroj' said he, taking his 
snuff-box from his thigh and removing the stopper. 
Gently tapping the box twice upon the ground he sifted 
a little of the snuff into his left hand, and, replacing the 
stopper, stuck the box in the cloth at his side as usual. 
Taking from his left hand a pinch of the snuff as large 
as he could hold with his thumb and index-finger, he 
drew it vigorously up both nostrils, then made a second 
pinch of the remainder, holding it in his right hand 
while he wiped the left on his cloth, rubbed his nose, 
and proceeded as follows : 

' " On this auspicious occasion, in the reign of Malta 
Vishnu, on Monday the tvjelfth day of the dark half of 
the Karttika month of the year Kalayukti, I, for the 
improvement of my well-being, firmness of mind, 
longevity, health, and jirosjperity, bathe in the parent 
stream of the Godaveri, in India, the land of Bharata, 
on Jambu-dvipa " — bathe three times.' 

Not being in the habit of bathing frequently, Eukmini 
was afraid to go into deep water ; so she sat down in the 

* The seeds of the Elceocarpus r/anitms, used for rosaries. 

+ A few copper coins are usually given to such priests by those in 
whose hearing they repeat the maiitrcvi. 

X This is a religious act. It consists of sipping water three times 
before religious ceremonies or meals, rejjeating at the same time the 
twenty-four principal names of Vishnu. 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 2$ 

stream where it was not deep enough to reach to the 
arm — only to the knee ; and, letting down her hair, 
poured water upon her head with her hands.* The 
Brahman, having repeated his mantras, went off saying 
he would call for the money. Rukmini dried her hair 
with the edge of her cloth and tied up her locks in its 
end. Glancing towards the bank she saw her father 
coming in the distance ; and hurrying out she placed a 
bottu on her forehead with the rouge she had laid on the 
stone, threw water over the drinking-vessel once or twice 
with her hands and went back a couple ot steps into 
the river to fill it, adjusted her cloth, and started for 
home with the astrologer's wife, who, her washed cloths 
upon her shoulder and the pot full of water on that 
again, had all this time been waiting for her. 



CHAPTEE III. 

Rukmini returns Home — Description of the Dwelling — Rajasekh- 
ara returns and seats himself in his Office — Visit of Relatives — The 
Devotee who performs his own Menial Offices, 

After mounting the steps together, the astrologer's wife 
and Eukmini walked straight up the street as far as tlje 
temple, where they turned into a side street and pro- 
ceeded for a short distance, when Rukmini, taking a 
couple of steps into an alley, stopped, and turning round, 
gently coughed twice. At this signal the astrologer's 
wife also stopped and looked back, and asked : ' Shall I 
stop, dear V 

' Do, Somidevama ; I've made it necessary for you 
to go a long roundabout to your house.' 

' How much of a roundabout ? I'll walk it in a 
minute,' 

' Please go now and come back again.' 

* We're but poor folk — you must be kind to us, you know.' 

* Men and widows bathe by holding the ears and nose and ducking 
themselves under. Married women are prohibited from bathing in this 
way. They must pour water over themselves. 



26 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

' What does that matter ? Please come,' said Eukraini, 
moving on a few steps, when slie again looked back and 
called out: 'Oh, Somidevama ! I forgot to tell you. 
When I go to the temple in the evening, won't you 
come too V 

'Certainly; that I will,' replied Somidevama. 

Although neither the astrologer nor his ancestors had 
ever been in the habit of offering sacrifice, yet among 
those on Somidevama's side of the house, at least, there 
were not wanting some who performed their duty in 
this respect. It was an indubitable fact that her own 
paternal grandfather had sacrificed,* and by virtue of 
thirty-and-four sacrificial animals offered at the rate of 
one a year, had departed to the enjoyment of heavenly 
bliss with the courtesans of Elysium. The father of 
Somidevama did not himself sacrifice ; but being un- 
willing to lose in any degree the good name earned by 
his father at such expense, he gave to his son the name 
Somayazulu, and to his daughter that of Somidevama. 

When Eukmini had walked up the alley for a hundred 
yards she turned to the south, and, after passing two 
doors in that alley, entered the third house by the back 
way. 

Among the houses of the period that of Eajasekhara 
was considered very handsome. On each side of the 
street-door was an extensive pial.f Between these 
2)ials lay the walk that led within. At the end of 
this walk was the lion-portal, or front-door. Near 
the threshold there were picturesquely carved on each 
doorpost a lion crouching on the head of an elephant, 
in the act of crushing the frontal lobes. From the 
head-parts of these lions there was carved on each 
side, as far as the umbrella-board,]; a vine decked with 
fruits and flowers. Upon the posts on either side were 

* At the time of full moon in the month Sravana (July — August). 
This is among the Hindus the great day of atonement. Sacrifices per- 
formed on this day obtain pardon for all the sins of the year. 

t A long, raised, veranda-like seat of earth or brickwork. 

J A carved board placed above the doorway. 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 27 

wooden horses, extending their forefeet toward the street 
as though about to leap down upon the passer-by. On 
gala-days festoons of mango-leaves are tied to the feet 
of these horses. Upon the umbrella-board, and directly 
in the centre between the two horses, was carved a 
lotus ; and on each side of this, as far as the prancing 
steeds, extended a vine, clad with pretty leaves and 
blossoms. On this at intervals were painted parrots, 
their claws resting upon the vine, in the act of piercing 
the fruit with their beaks. Even the great nail-heads 
on the street-doors were chiselled over with a kind of 
flower. 

Immediately on passing the entrance was a porch, 
and opposite this a great cistern. When it rained, the 
roof-water from all sides poured into this cistern and 
found its way into the street through a drain under the 
street porch. On the north and south sides of this 
cistern were two other porches facing each other. Of 
these the southern was the oflice-porch. During weddings 
and other entertainments the relatives and chief guests 
invited to partake of betel-and-l«af, sat here in a group 
while music and dancing went on below. When on 
other occasions celebrities came to call, or when, after 
the midday meal, some time was spent over the 2^"-- 
ranccs,* or when pupils came to study, Rajasekhara was 
in the habit of sitting here. Adjoining the ends of this 
porch were two rooms ; and on the south side was a line 
of double doors in the wall, which, when opened, ad- 
mitted the cool mountain breeze to fan the perspiring 
company. Beyond these doors extended a veranda ; and 
beyond that again a tiny area which feasted the eyes 
with many varieties of flowering plants. Within, on 
the three walls of the porch just mentioned, large pic- 
tures were hung on nails at the height of a man. Be- 
sides the Ten Incarnations, pictures of Krishna carrying 
off the garments of the shepherdesses and sitting in the 

* Ancient histories or romances intended to support a creed or sect. 
The jmranas generally received as authentic by the Hindus are eighteea 
in number. 



?8 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

branches of the cassia-tree while they supplicate him 
with uplifted hands ; dragging away the mortar to 
which he had been tied by his mother for stealing butter, 
thus suggesting the felling of the rtiaddi trees; and 
other delineations of his many pranks ; Saiva pictures 
representing Kumara-swami killing Tarakassura, Par- 
vati slaying Mahisassura, and Siva destroying Tripura ; 
with a number of others of Ganesa, Sarasvati, Lakshmi, 
and the Four-Faced Brahm, adorued the walls.* The 
porch on the north side was precisely similar, except 
that it had but one door, and that frequently closed. 
In this porch were always one or two old palanquins 
hanging up. On the floor of the porch, close to the 
wall, stood a new palanquin carefully covered, and 
used only when Eajasekhara went to the suburbs, or 
when persons of quality asked the loan of it. Upon 
passing through the door of this porch into the north 
veranda, a large well appeared in the area. The wind- 
lass over this well was for ever creaking under the 
hands of neighbours who were constantly coming to 
draw water. On the west side of the well, built apart 
from the house, were two hutches for storing rice in the 
husk. Near the well was a side door opening into the 
street — the very door by which liukmini had just before 
entered. By the same entrance the neighbours came 
and went for water ; and when, during the noon hour, 
the women of the vicinity came in to chat, or when it 
was necessary for the females of the household to go 
out while Kajasekhara was in his ofhce, this door was 
used. 

The four sides of the cistern were flanked by four 
pillars carved in imitation of jac-fruit. In the western 
porch was a central inner door opposite that opening 
into the street, and immediately on passing this another 
porch appeared. This porch also had a door on its south 
side. Were we to pass this door we would stand in 

* The ten avataras or incarnations of Vishnu. The jiaintings here 
mentioned depict a few of his many escapades, together with a number 
of other subjects drawn from Hindu mythology. 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 29 

Eajasekhara's bedchamber. There stood in this room, 
from east to west along the north wall, a four-poster 
bedstead, its feet resting in stone sockets. The bed 
itself was draped with musquito curtains and fringe, 
while between the posts were lacquered wooden salvers 
and caskets. A parrot's cage, ornamented with lacquered 
fruits and flowers, hung inside the curtains. The walls 
of the room were whitened with lime ; and along them 
were arranged wall-bags — the fruit of Rukmini and her 
mother's diligence. A short distance above these wall- 
bags pretty rag parrots, tied with thread to strings, 
swayed in the wind. Kondapalli images and lacquered 
vases arranged upon a shelf resting on great pins driven 
into the wall, served as ornaments to the room. To the 
nails which supported the wall-bags were fastened small 
pictures of the Ten Incarnations and other subjects ; 
and on the south side hung a Coronation of Sri Kama. 
When Rajahsekhara awoke from sleep his eyes would 
rest upon this very object — and fall on another just 
beyond. The room was ceiled above with a handsome 
ceiling. Opposite the bedstead, along the south wall, 
kavadi-hoxes* were arranged in a row on the lower shelf. 
In these boxes were kept common, everyday clothes, 
and Eajasekhara's Sanskrit books written on Bengal 
paper in the Nagari character.-}- Against the western 
wall of this room stood a huge chest secured with a 
strong lock. In the small lock-boxes which this chest 
contained were kept the family jewels, valuables, cloths 
for use on feast-days, and cash. When the nights 
were dark, and there was much fear of thieves, Rajase- 
khara would spread his bed on top of this chest and 
sleep there. To the south, between the chest and the 
shelf loaded with kavadi-hoxes, was a passage leading 
into the area off this room. Ou entering the area 

* The kavadi is a sort of yoke borne on the shoulder, and is one of 
the most common means of transport in India. 

+ Before the importation of the European article the only paper 
obtainable in India was a coarse kind made in Bengal. The character 
in which the English usually print Sanskrit books is called dtvanagari, 
or the ' elegant.' 



30 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

through this passage a broad marigold Led feasted the 
eyes with buds and new-blown llowers. At a little dis- 
tance to the left of this again, a jasmine vine crept upon 
a trellis ; and, although not then in bloom (that being 
the wrong season), charmed the sight with a wealth of 
green shoots. 

In the porch adjoining Eajasekhara's bedroom a 
parrot's cage was suspended from a beam. The parrot 
it contained ejaculated continually in a voice of great 
natural sweetness: 'Who are they ? Who are they V ' The 
cat's come ! beat her, beat her !' ' Greens here ! Garden 
greens !' and other such expressions. A little further on 
were hung by cords to the same beam the Eamayana 
and other palm-leaf books. When Eukmini rose from 
sleep at early dawn, she was in the daily habit of taking 
the parrot from its cage, mounting it upon her hand, and 
teaching it all such sayings as ' In her hand a butter-pat.' 

Although it was not a common practice at that time 
to educate women, Rajasekhara, out of love for his 
daughter, had liimself instructed Eukmini to such an 
extent that she could understand a new book without 
assistance from others. Being of good natural ability, 
she derived great benefit from this instruction, and even 
in her girlhood acquired wisdom and a knowledge of 
right and wrong. Seeing him instructing her, the neigh- 
bours whispered in secret envy ; but, since Eajasekliara 
was a man of wealth, they did not dare voice their 
sentiments. Neither did they remain entirely quiet. 
Gradually influencing a near relative of Eajasekhara's, to 
whom he showed much deference because of his station, 
they induced him on a certain occasion, when a large 
company was present, to broach the subject. ' Sir,' said 
he, 'it certainly is not customary with us to educate 
girls. Why, then, do you teach Eukmini to read V 
Eajasekhara was a man who knew the benefits accruing 
from education. He was also acquainted with the fact 
that in no sastra is the instruction of women forbidden, 
and that the virtuous women of olden times were per- 
sons of education. He accordingly gave the question of 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 31 

the old man due attention, and citing a few proof pas- 
sages favourable to the education of females, asked the 
opinion of the assembly. Those present were all men 
who at heart hated the very term ' Education of women;' 
but after they had once ascertained Eajasekhara's opinion 
they were not in the habit of advancing anything in 
opposition to it, so they flattered him that the advantages 
of such education were innumerable, and praised him 
for instructing Eukmini. 

A few yards beyond the rope to which the parrot's 
cage was suspended, opened the doorway to the western 
apartment of the house. This room was large — spacious 
enough to seat eighty brahmans at dinner. If viewed a 
short time before dinner was announced, there might be 
seen arranged along the two walls low stools at the dis- 
tance of a cubit apart, and before the stools rows of 
designs drawn in lines of flour. In the north-east 
corner of this room was an altar built of plaster. Upon 
this altar was a coffer, in which were kept the sala- 
grains* and other utensils used in the worship of the 
goddess Bhuvesvara.-f- On this coffer was laid a 
copy of the blessed Sundara Eamayana,| which Eajase- 
khara was always strict in using for the daily lesson. 
After coming from his bath Eajasekhara would place 
a stool before the altar, and seating himself, recite from 
the Eamayana and perform his five- fold puja.^ On 
passing out through the door opposite the altar, a 
paddock was entered. There, built of brick and mortar, 
stood a shapely tulasi fort,|( some four feet in height 
On this were cultivated with pious care a lakshmi and a 
krishna-tulasi. At a little distance further in the same 

* A species of ammonite worshipped by Vaishnavas as a type of 
Vishnu. 

t The goddess Lakshmi, the wife of Vishnu. 

X The Ramayana is the second great epic poem of the Hindus, 
recording the adventures of Rama. The fifth canto of the poem is 
called the Sundara, or ' Beautiful.' 

§ Puja, worship. 

II A pedestal in the form of a fort, in which is grown the tulasi 
bash. 



32 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

paddock a tulasi plat, just beyond perennial jasmine 
plants, and close to these a creeping vine trained upon 
a broadleaved rosebay tree, afforded Eajasekhara the 
requisite leaves and flowers for divine worship. Here, 
too, arranged in rows along the wall, were marigolds 
and lilies lovingly tended by Eukmini and her sister. 
Within the kitchen area, which joined hard to the 
south side of the west room, plantain trees feasted 
the eyes with their wealth of green foliage. Here, at 
the very foot of these trees, Eajasekhara was in the 
habit of taking his daily bath. 

As stated above, Eukmini, having come from her bath, 
poured the water which she had brought from the 
Godaveri in her drinking vessel upon the tulasi plant, 
then performed her devotions, and, after making the 
triple revolution in her wet cloth, went inside and 
changed that garment for a dry silk one. With a rouge 
casket in one hand and in the other a box containing 
in its various compartments some grains of unbroken 
rice, saffron, and rice flour, she came and sprinkled 
water on the altar at the base of the tulasi fort, cleaned 
it with her hands, and, sitting down, drew with the rice 
flour lotus designs and other curious convolutions, 
prettily setting them off here and there with rouge and 
saffron, and softly humming the while in dulcet tones 
the ' Fortune of the Island.'* 

In the meantime Eajasekhara, conversing on various 
topics with those who accompanied him, and now and 
then asking again words lost in the noise of the many 
pairs of creaking shoes, came with a number of others to 
the house, where they, leaving their shoes in the passage, 
entered one after another and sat down in the office 
upon coloured rugs, while Eajasekhara himself sat leaning 
against the south wall, fanning away with his upper cloth 
the perspiration caused by the exhaustion consequent on 
walking in the sun. At this juncture Nambi Eaghava- 
charya, pressing down the rising flakes of thick paste 
upon his forehead with his left hand, fixed his gaze upon 

* A song descriptive of Rama's adventures in the Island, i.e. Ceylon. 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 33 

Rajasekhara's face, and rubbed his hands together with 
a bland smile as he said : 

' At present your honour doesn't show quite so much 
favour to Swami* as usual.' Then, rising, he drew out 
from his cloth a wreath of oleander flowers, and remarked 
as he obsequiously dropped them into Eajasekhara's 
hand, ' You must be very good to Swami/ 

Receiving the gift with becoming reverence, Rajasek- 
hara asked : 

'Are there at present any feasts that should be 
observed in honour of our Janardana-swami T 

' In fifteen days,' replied Raghavacharya, ' there fall 
the fourteenth day of the bright fortnight of the month 
Margasira,t the full moon, and the holy stars of St. 
Mangayalvar and St. Panalvar in their order. Special 
feasts must then be observed. In a month's time 
Sagittarius will be in the ascendency. Throughout that 
month Swami should have daily feasts ; and during the 
SamkrantiX the feast of the Recital§ must be observed. 
In Sagittarius, too, the twelfth day after full moon, comes 
the holy star of St, Tondara-dippodiyalvar.|| On that 
day we must have a bigger feast even than Swami' s.' 

' Does Swami have his breakfast and perpetual lamp 
regularly every day ?' 

* The two rupees your honour kindly donates are 
insuflicient for the breakfast. At present the swamis 
are coming in greater numbers. But I keep the thing 
running after a fashion by adding another rupee to the 
one your honour gives for the lamp — for I don't want 
anyone else to have a share in its benefits. Swami 

* Used here as the local deity. The term sicami is also emploj'ed 
by the lower castes in addressing superiors, and especially priests. 

t The ninth lunar month (December — Jaimary). 

:J: Samkranti, the transit of the sun from one sign to another. Here 
used in a special sense to indicate the sun's passage from Sagittarius to 
Capricomus in January.. This is a period of universal rejoicing. 

§ A feast at which the Vedas are recited. 

II Canonized disciples of Vishnu. Of these alvars, or saints, there 
sire twelve. They are considered to have besn incarnations of the 
attendants, arm3, or insignia of Vishnu. 

3 



34 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

has no cars whatever. True, there is the j^onna car* 
but how full it will be to-morrow at the Recital ! If 
not remedied this year, it will certainly fall to your lot 
next. At any rate, I thought it well to drop the matter 
in your ear beforehand, and so I preferred this re- 
quest.' 

' They say that a few days ago the priests in the 
temple quarrelled among themselves about something 
or other.' 

'A priest from Dvarakati-rumala was sitting down 
after dinner, when another on a visit from Pentapardu 
paid his respects to Bacchus and sat down too. One of 
them was a Tengali and the other a Vadahali; so they 
fell to bandying words as to whether the pada should 
be placed beneath the nama or not.'f 

' Did it end in mere words V 

' After a while they got their hands slightly mixed 
up in it too ; but my brother and 1 stepped in and put 
a stop to it without letting it go any further.' 

* Does our Jauardana-swami own no land ?' 

' There are said to be seven puttiesX of land ; but a 
matter of five putties goes to the dancing women. The 
two putties that remain, too, belong to the priests and 
not to Swami.' 

'Why, there was no music or dancing in Swami's 
feast that came off the other day.' 

' Theyll don't come to every feast. They live in Eajah- 
mundry, and it's very difficult to hire bandies and come 
down to all the trifling festivals. They come down 
only on the day of the car festival during the marriage 
of any Swami. It is the custom to give them a trifle of 

* A representation of the ponna or cassia tree, carried in procession 
with an image of Krishna perched in the branches surrounded by the 
shepherdesses, whose clothes he had stolen. 

f Pada, a mark representing the foot of Vishnu, worn by his 
followers <m the bridge of the nose. 2^ama, a trident-shaped mark 
worn on the forehead. 

J A puttie equals about eight acres. 

11 ' They,' the dancing- women. Bandy, a native cart drawn by 
bullocks. 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 35 

four rupees from Swami's substance for their daily- 
expense.' 

At that moment a fair-complexioned benedict of some 
thirty years of age, dressed in white clothes and making 
his iron-shod stick ring again, walked familiarly from 
the hall into the porch, preceded by a cooly carrying 
a bundle of cloths upon his head, and there stopping 
said to the cooly : 

' You, Eamiga, take the bundle inside, call someone, 
and leave it in Eajasekhara's bedroom, d'ye hear ?' 

Then thrusting everyone aside, he made his way 
through the company and seated himself on the carpet 
in front of Rajasekhara like one who had long known 
him intimately. Although Eajasekhara had never so 
much as seen his face before, yet, deeming it improper 
to be impolite when a person of respectability came to 
the house, he half rose, motioned him to be seated with 
a graceful wave of the hand, and himself sliding back a 
little way, made the stranger welcome by inquiring if 
all were well at home; but, fearing that his visitor 
might be offended should he ask who he was, he fell 
silent. The person who had just arrived rolled his 
snuffbox towards Eaghavacharya, and taking possession 
of that worthy's box, threw away the pinch of snuff he 
had just shaken into his palm, took a fresh pinch with 
a most nonchalant air, snuffed up the half of it, and 
turned towards Eajasekhara with the remark : 

' Eajasekhara seems to have forgotten me.' 

'By no means,' replied Eajasekhara staring into his face. 

' Haven't recognized me yet. You saw me ten years 
ago in Eajahmundry at Eamamurti's. I'm Vemarajah 
Bhiravamurti. We're all near relatives — the son-in- 
law of your worthy mother's aunt was actually the son 
of my maternal uncle's aunt one generation removed. 
Not long ago my elder brother Sambayya spent a month 
at your house, and after he came back kept going on 
continually about the kindness you had shown him. 
He opened his box and showed us the cloths, too, that 
you gave him when he came away. When I saw them 

3—2 



36 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

1 was filled with ecstasy at the thought that you, one 
of our relatives, were in such a prosperous condition !' 

An old fellow who was lying down in the next room, 
happening to overhear this conversation, coughed and 
came out crying : 

' Haloo, Bhiravamurti ! When did you come V 

' Oh, ho ! grandfather Prasadaravu ! is it you ? Pray 
how many days is it since you honoured the place with 
your presence V queried Bhiravamurti. 

' I've been on the spot for the last two months. I 
came with the intention of merely paying our relative, 
Eajasekhara, a short visit. But I was unable to resist 
his importunit)% and so got caught here. Eajasekhara 
is the best of all our relatives, I want you to know,' said 
he as he seated himself. 

' Grandfather,' asked Eaghavacharya, ' what relation 
is Eajasekhara to you V 

' You just heard our relationship, didn't you ? The 
brother-in-law of his maternal uncle was step-brother 
to my daughter's mother-in-law.' 

While this conversation was going on, a woman's 
voice was heard calling several times, ' Sita ! Sita !' On 
this Eaghavacharya joined in with 'Sitama!' and added, 
' your mother's calling for something inside.' 

A brown little miss of about seven who was playing 
at cowries with other girls of her age in the veranda 
next the well, clad in a simple skirt, and holding in her 
left hand the cowries that she staked at play, and in 
her right a bit of chalk with which she kept tally, sang 
out, ' Coming, coming !' and ran through the porch 
towards the door of the west room, making the bells 
upon her feet tinkle merrily. This little one was 
Eajasekhara's second daughter. Arrived there, Sita 
stopped just outside and asked : 

' Mother, what did you call me for V 

' Tell father dinner's ready, and that they may go and 
bathe,' replied Manikyamba. 

Manikyamba was Eajasekhara's wife. Although 
neither so intelligent nor so well educated as Eukmini, 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 37 

she was yet unmatched for cleverness in the manage- 
ment of her household affairs and in the culinary art. 
In form she closely resembled her eldest daughter, 
except that her countenance was somewhat maturer and 
her complexion a shade darker. Although at lea$t 
thirty-four years of age, to see from a distance she was 
an exact counterpart of the younger woman. 

At that moment Sita came running back into the 
room calling out : 

' Papa, mother says the dinner's ready, and that you're 
to go and bathe,' and proceeded to the well veranda to 
play at cowries as usual. 

' Prasadaravu, perhaps you'll bathe. Come to the 
well. Bhiravamurti, are you going to the Godaveri, 
or will you bathe at the well V asked Eajasekhara 
rising. 

' As this is Jvartiika Monday, I'll go to the Godaveri, 
replied Bhiravamurti. 

At this the whole assembly arose, took leave of 
Rajasekhara, and proceeded to their several homes. 
Eajasekhara himself walked into the west room. Mam- 
kyamba, who was inside grinding sandalwood on a 
stone, passed over to the door of the western area amid 
the jingle of toe-rings, and with one foot on this side the 
threshold and the other in the veranda, stood with her 
right hand upon the door frame and called out : 

'Rukmini, your father's come to bathe; be quick and 
get him some water.' 

Eukmini was engaged in cutting flowers for morn- 
ing worship ; but on hearing this summons, she called 
out, ' Coming !' brought the jasmine flowers and tulasi 
blossoms in a copper plate, hastily laid them upon the 
altar, and went into the kitchen area to hand her 
father the water. Manikyamba placed some unbroken 
grains of sandal- wooded rice in brass cups, and taking 
a mirror and an ash-box from their niche, brought 
them in and placed them beside the stool that stood 
near the altar. At that moment there came from 
within a widow of the age of forty. She had thrown 



38 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

over her head a wet cloth wrung out, the pendent end 
of which served as a veil. Fixing a hothi on her fore- 
head with ashes from the grate, she brought some clean 
water in a pair of silver driuking-cups and placed it by 
the stool. 

When Eajasekhara had finished his bath, he let down 
and smoothed out his juttu* tied the end of it in a 
knot, replaced his wet cloth (which had been spread out 
to dry), and entering the room sat down on the stool 
before the altar. After performing the achaniana, he 
pinched off a little sacred ashes from the ball, wet it 
in the water, and with the three fingers other than 
the little finger and thumb, drew lines upon his fore- 
head, shoulders, throat, stomach, and breast ; then un- 
locking the shrine, he placed the images and salagrams 
upon a salver and began divine worship by repeating 
some mantras. By this time all the others had come 
from bathing, and seated themselves on the low stools 
arranged along the wall. 

When all who were to go to dinner had gone in,t 
Manikyamba left the garden, and, shutting the middle 
door after her, sat down in the bedroom to fold betel 
and leaf :|: Just then, at the street door, ' Eajasekhara ! 
Eajasekhara !' were heard one after another a half- 
dozen cries like the shouts of a rustic in the fields. 
Manikyamba called out from within, ' Coming ! coming !' 
but before she could reach the spot, there came a 
fusilade of rousing thumps upon the door as an ac- 
companiment to the shouts. When at last she got 
the door unbolted, there stood by the door-post a huge 
black shape wearing an old, wrinkled face, the flat 
cheeks whitened by sweat mingled with sacred ashes 

-•' The queue worn by all Hindu men. 

f f.e. the men, women always^^eating after the male members of tlie 
family. 

+ An after-dinner refection. The nut of the betel-palm (areca 
catechu) is rolled in the fresh green leaf of the piper-betel with a 
modicum of slaked lime, and masticated. The preparation is highly 
aromatic, and very slightly narcotic. Its use stains the lips and teeth 
a bright red. 




' There stood by the door-jjost a hur/e Mack shape vjearing an old, 
vrrinkled fact ' (2'. 38). 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 41 

thickly daubed upon the forehead; the earrings wagging; 
a head of white hair peeping out through the folds of 
an upper cloth in which it was wrapped ; shoulders sur- 
mounted by a roll of black antelope-hide, swelled by 
the darbha-grass mat that was wrapped about the 
reddish tinted cloths within; and a shrivelled breast 
adorned with a hempen bag and a spouted pot tied to 
the fastening of the black hide and hanging down over 
the right shoulder. As soon as the door was opened, 
this form stalked straight into the west room, and finally 
stopped before Eajasekhara. 

* Sastri, what is the name of your village V cried Eaja- 
sekhara. 

' Ours is Kanuragrahara,' replied the sastri. ' Our 
family name is Bulussu ; my name is Perayya Somaya- 
zulu. Your fame is world-wide. Whether you give 
such abundant food to a dozen brahmans, or bestow 
alms, yours is an existence useful to the world ; but 
what's the life of such a worthless fellow as I am good 
for V 

' This is harttika Monday. Won't you stop till 
night?' 

' I'm an old man. I can't stop just now.' 

' Somayazulu is fatigued ; please go to the well and 
pour a few buckets of water over yourself. Dinner is 
just ready.' 

' Let your dinner proceed. I have a request to make. 
I must have food cooked by my own hand. If you will 
have a fireplace purified with a little cowdung* and a 
few things got ready, I'll bathe and do my cooking.' 

' There is only the one fireplace. You must oblige us 
by joining in our meal.' 

* I'm bound not to eat women's cooking. But perhaps 
the persons who cook for your household are men ?' 

* Cowdung is a universal purifier among the Hindus, the cow being 
regarded as sacred. The floors of houses are cleaned weekly with it ; 
mixed with water, it is used daily on front steps and before houses ; 
its ashes are employed in applying caste-marks, and in exorcisms ; 
while the crude article itself is one of other abominable ingredients 
administered to penitent apostates. 



42 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

' My niece prepared the meal. In our house none 
but women ever do the cooking.' 

' Alas, to say nothing of women's cooking, how am I to 
take food from a niyogi?* If you will have a little rice 
and water put on the tire, I'll come and remove it.' 

' It isn't convenient to-day. You must condescend 
to bestow yourself elsewhere this morning,' replied Raja- 
sekhara. 

' Ah, I have it,' cried Somayazulu reflecting a moment ; 
' yours from the very beginning is an eminent ancestry. 
What a pious man was your grandfather! and your 
worthy father, too ! He was deeply learned in theolog} . 
I have no objection to eating in your house, but if I say 
that I've taken meals at one place, they'll ask me to do 
the same at another. So if I take my dinner here, you 
must keep the matter a secret. This is karttika Monday, 
so I'll run down to the Godaveri and bathe and be back 
in a minute. In the meantime please proceed with 
your dinner ;' and Perayya Somayazulu placed his ante- 
lope's hide and hempen bag in the middle of the floor 
and went off to his bath. When he returned he spread 
the skin in the porch, unrolled his darhha- gva,ss mat 
upon it, and sat down. Then thrusting his hand into 
his bovine maskf he began telling his riidraJcsha 
rosary and repeating his orisons with shut eyes. Seeing 
him hurry like a glutton and an eater of opium, those 
who were seated M'ithin before the leafen plates,]: per- 
ceiving that the rice and curry (which was already served) 
was growing cold, came and called him repeatedly ; 
whereupon Somayazulu quickly laid aside his taciturnity 
and took his place before a platter. Then all sprinkled 
the aqua lustralis § and proceeded to take their meal. 

-'•" An inferior class of Brahmans — secular Brahmans. 

+ An imitation cow's face carried by such j/or/i.i. 

X Brahmans seldom or never eat ofif metal dishes. Earthenware 
they regard as an abomination. Meals are eaten off plates formed 
of a number of leaves neatly stitched together with fine grass or bamboo 
splints. These are thrown away after meals. 

§ Holy water sprinkled about the plates with the rej^etition of mantras 
to sanctify the food. 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 4S 

'I see nothing of Venkayya the waterman who 
brought the news-letter from Kajahmundry,' said Raja- 
sekhara ; ' where is he sitting V 

' Here I am, sir/ called out Venkayya ; * behind 
Somayazulu, at the corner plate.' 

' This cooking is capital,' remarked Somayazulu ; ' that 
of Nala and Bhima * is nowhere alongside of it.' 

' Somayazulu,' remarked Venkayya slyly ; ' the cu- 
cumberf you cooked in the rest-house yesterday wasn't 
nearly so tasty as this, was it V 

' What rest-house ?' asked Somayazulu, starting. 

' In Eajhamundry, yesterday,' continued Venkayya, 
disregarding the question, 'a merchant had a house- 
warming and gave a dinner to the Brahmans. Bolli 
Perayya did the cooking. There, too, Somayazulu and 
I sat in the very same row.' 

Thus familiarly conversing among themselves they 
took their dinner, and, after washing their hands in the 
area off the west room, came into the porch belching 
and stroking their paunches, where they seated them- 
selves. Though Somayazulu had really come with the 
intention of remaining several days, on the strength of 
what had occurred at dinner he now felt disinclined to 
stay, and at once partook of betel-aud-leaf and went 
his way without even so much as asking a gratuity. 



CHAPTER IV. 

Reading the Puranas — The Estate of Rajasekhara — His Brother-in- 
hiw l3amodarayya's History — The Story of his friend Narayanamurti 
— Fortune-Telling. 

After dining Rajasekhara had a nap, and, taking some 
betel-and-leaf, came and sat down in his office. Already 
a number of the leading villagers had come in and 
seated themselves in positions befitting their rank. On 
Rajasekhara calling out ' Subrahmanya !' a voice from 

* Famous cooks of old. 

f Brahmans are forbidden the use of cucumbers. 



44 FOKTUNrS WHEEL. 

within immediately replied * Sir !' and a fair lad of 
fourteen came out and stood before bim. He was 
Kajasekhara's only son. Two years after Sita was 
born another boy had come ; but this child was fairy- 
struck within ten days after his birth,* and died. 
After that Manikyamba bore no more children. Subrah- 
manya's face was unquestionably handsome, except that 
upon the forehead there was a somewhat ugly scar where 
he had been burnt with a stick of saffron for convulsions 
when but three years old.-f- His eyes were large, his 
forehead lofty, his locks flowing and black. On 
his wrists were gold bracelets ; in his ears a pair of 
earrings set with diamonds ; while a ring of fine gold- 
work, studded with emeralds, glittered on his ring- 
finger. 

' Subrahraanya, what's the reason you didn't come 
to dinner at noon along with the others ?' asked Ea- 
jasekhara. 

* I thought that as this was karttika Monday I ought 
to fast until the evening meal/ 

'The First Book J lies just inside on the table ; bring 
it here, and go call the sastri.' 

Subrahmanya brought the book and handed it to his 
father in accordance with the command, and then 
passed into the walk and down the steps. Here, catch- 
ing sight of a black form approaching in the distance, 
he called out, ' Hurry up !' and returning informed 
them that the sastri was coming, and took his seat 
after placing the book in the middle of the porch before 
the company. At that moment up came the sastri 
himself, and took a seat with the others. He had an 
old torn shawl folded and thrown over his shoulder, 
while there dangled from his ears a pair of earrings 

* The period of ceremonial uncleanness, when both mother and child 
are considered to be in special danger from malign influences. 

+ Branding is much resorted to by the Hindus. No child escapes 
it. The stomach is branded for colic, the head for convulsions, head- 
ache, etc. 

t The Maha Bharata (the great epic of the Hindus) is divided into 
eighteen books. The first is here meant. 



FORTUNE'S IVHEE-L. 45 

that here and there, through the wearing away of the 
gold, showed the lac inside. Rajasekhara was himself a 
classical scholar; but it was counted very respectable 
in those days to have any celebrated book read and 
expounded for one by another pandit. Hence their 
waiting for the sastri before commencing the volume. 

' Pray, why are you so late in coming to-day ?' asked 
Eajasekhara. 

' I came and looked in once before,' replied the 
sastri ; ' but as they said you were not up, and I had 
some business to transact with another leading man, I 
told them I would be back again by the time you 
were out, and went away. A little delay took place in 
talking with him. You must overlook it. Master Su- 
brahmanya, open the book.' 

Opening the volume, Subrahmanya began to read the 
poem in praise of Ganesa * of ' the trunk, the single 
tusk, and the pot-belly ;' and when that was completed 
the sastri himself took hold and read the * With joined 
hands will I supplicate,' and other prayers to Sarasvati, 
various hymns in praise of Vyasa -f ' refulgent-bodied 
as the lofty cloud of blue,' and a number of others. 
Subrahmanya now found the place where he had left off 
the previous day, and read, in that part of the book 
where Arjuna goes to Dvarakanagara, the stanza : 

' My monthly vow religiously performed — 
Broad Ganga with her sacred sister streams, 
The Himalayas grand, and kindred peaks, 
But chief thy lotus feet, adored — and all 
My former sins are fled, O Achyuta !' 

The sastfi entoning this began to explain its mean- 
ing, quoting in addition some things that were and 
80uie_^that were not in the poem. While he was making 
these explanations Subrahmanya took hold of the bit of 
stick which was tied to the cord of the book % and 
began twirling it about in his hand. Observing this 

* The elephant-god, with whose praise every service is begun. 
ji The sage who is supjosed to have written t'le Maha Bharatdi 
X The leaves of a palm -leaf book are strung ujx n a cord. - 



4b FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

the sastrl started, laid his finger along his nose, and 
demanded, ' Is it proper to treat the Book in that way 
when you're reading it ?' Then he proceeded to tell 
those who were near a story to the effect that Vyasa 
actually sat upon the volume ; and in reply to a ques- 
tion on the subject asked by some one in the company, 
he went on to say that unless Vyasa was actually 
passing by he never came into mind ; and that he 
was then passing that very way, soaring into the 
heavens in his glorious chariot. And looking towards 
the sky, he shut his eyes and made obeisance thrice. 
In this way they concluded the First Book by twilight, 
and, bringing their reading to a close for that day, 
repeated the ' Svasti praja bhyaha ' * and other slokas, 
and went to their respective homes. 

Relatives who were so far removed as the fortieth 
cousinship — some, too, for whom it was simply useless 
to refer to genealogical trees— bethought themselves of 
their relationship to Eajasekhara, and out of pure love 
for him kept constantly coming to his house with the 
modest intention of paying their respects and taking an 
immediate departure — only to remain for months at a 
time, sponging, and securing as prizes for themselves 
clothing and other articles. Leading men of the town 
and acquaintances, too, praised the capital cooking done 
in Rajasekhara's house, and dined there at least fifteen 
days of each montli. Puffed up by their flatteries, Ra- 
jasekhara laid himself out to win their applause by 
preparing rich pastries, rice served with milk, and 
similar dainty dishes for them whenever they came. 
Even though the rice was not sufficiently boiled, or the 
sour sauce not hot, or the dhal f not browned, no one 
ever said that the food was not nice. Is not a dish 
obtained gratis always the most tasty ? Some relatives 
when they departed would borrow a little money ; and, 
though up to that time they had been in the habit of 

* ' For the people, blessing !' A sloka is a passage of classic 
Sanskrit. 

■\ A kind of pulse. 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. • 47 

coming and going frequently, never afterwards could 
find leisure to return and wipe out the debt. He was 
a rich man, and everybody was his friend. But the 
Goddess of Eiches wholly prevented him from perceiving 
whether even one of his host of followers was a true 
friend or not. These excellent friends, while seeking to 
rejoice Eajasekhara's heart with their praises and to 
afford him the happiness of Paradise in this world, as 
far as they themselves were concerned consented to 
receive the money and jewels, the garments and palan- 
quins, which he lavished upon them, simply for the 
sake of his regard. Beggars without number came 
daily to relate the intricate tales of their miseries, who 
invariably finished up by asking him to bestow upon 
them a gratuity of. some sort. All the representations 
of such people as these he believed to be simple truth, 
and never refused them aid. Brahmans got away with 
his money by representing that they were going to 
make a wedding for a son, or to conduct an upana- 
yana ;* or that they were going to offer sacrifices in 
person, or to build choultries and feast friends. 
Then there were frequently nauiches of an evening at 
Eajasekhara's house, and presentations of the ' Eape of 
the Amaranth ' and other plays for the amusement of 
friends. Eogues, too, brought their unsaleable rings 
and other articles, and by persuading Eajasekhara that 
no other good fellow but he knew the value of the 
stones set in them sufficiently well to buy to advantage, 
sold their very words for a high rate, even though they 
did not get much for the goods. Through the influence 
of the priestly clique of the place, Eajasekhara had 
determined to found a temple (one of the Seven San- 
tanas-f) and had commenced a pagoda to Anjaneya in 
the vicinity of the shrine called Eama's Feet, with black 

* Upanayana, the induction of a young Brahman into the order of 
the ' twice-born,' by investiture with the sacred cord. 

f Santana, issue. Issue has for its object the perpetuation of the 
name of the person whose it is. Hence anything that perpetuates one's 
name is called a nantana. The following are held to be the principal 
ox sapta nantanas : (1) Construction of a temple ; (2) The ascription oi 



48 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

stone brought from the Rajavara mountain. Although 
the work had now gone on for four years and was not yet 
half completed, the very workmen and sub-contractors 
who superintended the construction had become quite 
rich. He had thus got into a habit of disregarding his 
own wants and of sacrificing himself for the good of 
others ; at which Prosperity became angry with him 
and attempted to fly away. But, unable to leave him 
all at once because of long acquaintance, she lingered a 
little longer. Poverty, learning how things stood, came 
occasionally and peeped in from just across the thresh- 
old — with the intention of taking possession so soon as 
Prosperity should give her place in the house. For the 
gratuities bestowed when Ptukmini was married, Pia- 
jasekhara had contracted a considerable debt upon his 
lands. The interest of this debt was constantly grow- 
ing ; . but with this exception he had no embarrassments 
whatever. 

Those who throve on Eajasekhara were many ; but 
the principal of them all were Damodarayya and Xara- 
yanamurti. Of these two, Damodarayya was brother- 
in-law to Eajasekhara. Upon him they had bestowed 
no less a person than Eajasekhara's twin sister. She 
had died, however, after bearing but one son. This son 
was now fifteen years old. His name was Sankarayya. 
His mother having died before he was yet eight years 
old, he grew up in his uncle's house from his very 
childhood. It had been the desire of both his parents 
to give him Sita in marriage. After the death of his 
wife, Damodarayya had, with Eajasekhara's help, con- 
tracted a second marriage ; but the girl on her wedding- 
day was under eight years of age, and only two years 
had now elapsed since she reached puberty and came to 
her husband's house. He had as yet no issue by this 

a book to another ; (3) The planting of groves ; (4) The construction of 
tanks ; (5) Building a town and charitably donating houses therein 
and lands adjoining to Brahmans ; (6) Building chovltries ; (7) Hiding 
treasure in the earth and renouncing one's claim to it for the benefit of 
the finder. 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 49 

second wife, rrom the very beginning Damodarayya 
had been very poor; and neither was the father of 
Kajasekhara wealthy at the time he gave him Eajase- 
khara's sister. Their former place of residence was 
Vasantavada. There, while Eajasekhara's father was 
having white-ant hills dug for the walls of his house, in 
a certain place he came upon a treasure in a brass pot. 
Whether he feared he would not be so highly respected 
in his native place after becoming rich, or whether he 
feared the envy of man, is uncertain ; but at all events 
Eajasekhara's father brought along his wife and children 
— his son-in-law, too — and from that time forth settled 
at the base of this Dhavalagiri. In this neighbourhood 
he acquired lands, and here, after a time, he ended his 
days. Until the death of his wife, Damodarayya con- 
tinued to reside in Eajasekhara's house — and to obtain 
money from others in his brother-in-law's name and 
appropriate it to his own use, covering the matter up so 
that it might not get abroad. When, later, his creditors 
came and worried him, Eajasekhara himself would hand 
out the necessary cash. But after his twin sister died, 
Eajasekhara, unable longer to bear Damodarayya's irre- 
gularities, one day gave him a sound rating. Damo- 
darayya flew into a rage at this, and proclaimed that his 
brother-in-law had turned him out of doors with only 
the clothes he had on his back. He then went off to 
foreign parts, allowed his hair to grow long, cultivated 
a beard, and came back again in six mouths and went 
about the streets in the guise of a witch-doctor with a 
huge rouge bottu on his forehead. Having before that 
taken good care to put the cash he had obtained in a 
safe place, Damodarayya now built him a house witli 
this money and dwelt apart by himself in a certain part 
of that very village. His witch-doctoring proved a 
daily success — so much so that if anyone in the place 
but got a thorn in his foot, he would have Damodarayya 
apply sacred ashes to it. In this way he was not only 
becoming rich, but was also growing daily in the esteem 
of the people. 

4 



50 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

Narayanamurti, the second friend, had been born of 
a good family ; but, getting into bad company, he ran 
through his entire fortune, and became much reduced 
in circumstances. Nevertheless, he still kept up an 
outward show of affluence. Although his fortune was 
gone, Narayanamurti still retained at least the outward 
signs of wealth ; so he visited frequently the house of 
Eajasekhara, and requesting him to keep his secret, 
would call him aside, make known his need, and ask 
for a loan. Rajasekhara well knew that the debt would 
never be repaid ; but he was a person exceedingly de- 
sirous of standing high in the esteem of others, and 
besides, Narayanamurti had been the schoolmate of his 
boyhood, so he would place the sum asked in his friend's 
hand and let him go without allowing a second party to 
know of the transaction. With this money Narayana- 
murti bought gold-laced cloths, perfumes, and other 
expensive articles, and made elaborate banquets for his 
friends. Besides this, when creditors dunned him for 
debts which he had contracted elsewhere, Eajasekhara 
at various times had paid as much as three thousand 
rupees out of his own private funds to deliver him from 
the annoyance of debt. Two years before, the wife of 
Narayanamurti's uncle had died without issue, and he 
had fallen heir to her fortune of ten thousand rupees. 
On hearing this, Eajasekhara was greatly pleased. He 
went at once to Narayanamurti's house, embraced and 
congratulated him on his good fortune, and declared at 
the same time that there was no necessity whatever for 
paying off the debt owing him, and that Narayanamurti 
must keep all his money in order to live happily and 
respectably. Up to that time the necessity for repaying 
Eajasekhara had never approached quite so near ; be- 
sides, Narayanamurti now had plenty of money, so he 
got into the habit of telling Eajasekhara repeatedly that 
if he needed it, his whole fortune was at his disposal. 

One day, at about ten o'clock in the morning, while 
Eajasekhara was seated in his office with a number 
of visitors, Eukmini came out to the well, and from 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 51 

there proceeded to the back-door, where she stood just 
inside talking with a neighbour's daughter who had 
come to throw the rinds of a pumpkin she had been 
peeling into the street. Just then a fortune-teller 
came that way with a basket on her head and a 
palm-leaf rattle in her hand. Staring into Rukmini's 
face, she stopped and said, ' Miss, you're going to meet 
with good luck very shortly ; you're going to get a 
fortune. But you've got a grief in your heart, and 
you're pining to death over it. If you'll let me tell 
your fortune, I'll reveal exactly what's in your mind.' 
On hearing this, Rukmini called the artful one into the 
yard, and made her sit down behind the storehouse 
while she went in and brought some rice in a winnow- 
ing basket. Taking the rice in her hand, she touched 
it three times to her forehead, prostrated herself, made 
a wish, and let the rice fall back into the basket. Then 
the fortune-teller ran over her tutelary deities like one 
who had got them by heart, begging them to be pro- 
pitious, seized Rukmini's hand and exclaimed, ' A. 
fortunate hand ! A rich hand I You've thought a 
thought ; you've wished a wish ; you've desired a boon ; 
and now you're distracted as to whether it's a green 
fruit or a ripe one — a falsehood or the truth — whether 
you'll get it or not. It's not green fruit — it's ripe ; not 
a falsehood, but the truth ; and you'll get it right quick. 
Perhaps you ask, " Is my thought about a man or a 
woman ?" For a woman it's a beard ; for a man, a 
lac-earring,' she ran on, watching the workings of 
Rukmini's face closely. Observing it change slightly 
when she said ' a man,' she at once guessed the difficulty. 
* You're thinking about a man. Your wish'U soon come 
to sliore'; your bread's buttered,' she said, and by further 
conversation learned all that was in Rukmini's mind. 
Having already heard that Rukmini's husband had de- 
serted her, ' Your man went to the bad, and is wander- 
ing in foreign parts. But he's got such a passion for 
you that he'll be sure to be back after you within a 
month,' she said ; and taking a root from her bag, she 

4—2 



52 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

tied it to Rukmini's arm with a saffroned thread, re- 
ceived an old cloth and a jacket as a reward, and, 
charging Eukmini that after she joined her husband she 
must give her a new skirt as well, went her way. Euk- 
mini was made very happy.and went into the house dazed, 
praising the skill that had enabled the fortune-teller so 
exactly to ascertain the workings of another's mind. 



CHAPTER V. 



An Attempt to marry Sita — The Byragi's Fame — He practises 
Medicine — Janardana-swami's Feast — Riikmini loses her Coin- 
Necklace. 

One morning Rajasekhara was sitting in his office after 
the transaction of business, when the astrologer came 
in, and, taking a seat, drew a pair of spectacles from a 
plaited palm-leaf case, mounted them on his nose, passed 
the string back over his forehead and under his juttu, 
and loosening four or five little bits of palm-leaf that 
were strung on a string of a book of that material, 
began to swing them back and forth, gazing the while 
at Rajasekhara's face. 

* Astrologer,' said Rajasekhara, ' what alliance is best 
for Sita ?' 

' After careful reflection it would seem that the horo- 
scope of Mantripragada Bapiraju's son is in every 
particular favourable,' replied the astrologer. 

Mantripragada Bapiraju had long been desirous of 
making Sita his son's wife by some means or other, 
and of profiting by the relationship with Rajasekhara. 
Only recently, on the celebration of the goddess Sita's 
marriage-day in his house, not only had he made the 
astrologer the possessor of a fine web of girdle cloth, 
but had also further excited his avarice by promising 
him a still handsomer present if he should arrange a 
match with Sita. 

' Bapiraju's son is a black fellow, and besides I hear 
he is dull at learning. There is a report, too, that he 
is already walking in evil ways through the influence 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 53 

of bad associates. I will not give Sita to him. How 
is our Sankarayya's horoscope ?' asked Eajasekhara. 

'I have seen your nephew's horoscope,' replied the 
astrologer, ' and it is in every respect a capital one. But 
his natal star is in the third lunar mansion, while our 
Sita's is in the same. The sastra contains a sloka to 
the effect that in the harmony of these mansions destruc- 
tion lurks for maid and lover : " If the 2bth, 2ord, 7th, Srd, 
5th, 14:th, I'Sth, 12th, 20th, or 18th lunar mansions be 
the same for husband and wife, evil will result ; but if, 
though in the same sign, the m^ansions or the quarters 
differ, the union will be happy.'' ^ The horoscope of 
Bapiraju's son is in every particular suitable — in it the 
Eegent of the Trigon is in conjunction with the Eegent 
of the Kendra ;t but has no connection with the remain- 
ing 3rd, 6th, 12th, and 8th Eegents. He is very lucky 
according to the sloka which says : " If the Regents of 
the Kendra and Trigon be in conjunction, great good 
fortune will result, no matter what position the re- 
mainivg planets occupy." What difference does it 
make about form and other trifles ? Who knows how 
sensible a man he may become in another four years' 
time ? Take my advice, and give the girl to him.' 

' No, I'll not give the child to Bapiraju's son. When 

* Hindu astrology divides the twelve signs of the zodiac into twenty- 
seven lunar asterisms or mansions, in which are supposed to reside the 
wives of the Moon (masculine), with each of whom their serene lord 
spends one day in succession on his monthly circuit. 

■f- The annexed diagram represents the astrological chakra or wheel 
in general use among the Hindus for constructing horoscopes, and 



\2 
3\ 


1 


12/ 


4 


1 


10 


6/ 
/6 


7 


8\ 



determining lucky and unlucky periods. 1 is called the lagna, or 
rising sign, and with the 4th, 7th and ICth places from it, Ktndra ; 
while the 5th and 9th places are called trikona, or trigons. 



54 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

my sister died, she made me place my hand in hers and 
promise that I would give Sita to her son. Damoda- 
rayya, too, is constantly pressing me to give Sita to 
Sankarayya and keep him with me. Now, in case I 
give the child to another, he will taunt me ever after 
that I did so simply because my sister was gone. 
Besides, our Sankarayya is a very sensible lad. He is 
attractive in form, and possesses both education and 
modesty. I shall certainly give the child to him. You 
must examine the horoscope carefully once more.' 

Perceiving it would be of no avail to oppose this de- 
termination, the astrologer gazed for a little at the 
sky in meditation, and then asked, * In what quarter* 
of the 3rd mansion was Sita born ?' 

' The 2nd quarter/ replied Eajasekhara. 

' Sankarayya's is the 1st quarter. True ! it is cer- 
tainly auspicious. According to the sloka which says, 
" If they luho are born in the same mansion and 
in the same quarter thereof he married, their lives will 
he in peril ; hut should the quarters difer, the union 
will he auspicious even though the mansion is the same," 
not only is there no harm, but it is positively lucky. 
Without fail betroth Sita to him, and have them married.' 

' What time in the present year would be best for the 
wedding V 

' Since the sloka says that " The months Magha, 
Palguna, Visakha, and Jestha are hest for celehrating 
matrimonial unions,"-^ the month Magha is a favour- 
able one. In the dark fortnight, on the fifth Tuesday, the 
sun is in Aquarius. That is a capital time. The sloka 
— " When the sun is in Aries, Gemini, Aquarius, 
Scorpio or Capricornus, marriage alliances may he 
contracted; tuhen in other signs, they are prohibited" 
— is my authority.' 

' Is your daughter somewhat better of her illness V 

y By your honour's favour she is much better. The 

* Each mansion is divided into four paAas, or quarters, 
f Marjha corresponds to February — March ; Palguna, to March — 
April ; Visakha, to May — June ; and Jeshta to June — July. 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 55 

byragi whom you recommended the other day is a very 
clever man. He drove the evil spirit from our house 
in a twinkling. All the witch-doctors had given our 
little one up, believing it impossible to exorcise the 
demon that possessed her. For three days he gave her 
consecrnted water to drink, and tied an amulet on her 
arm. The child has been easy from that very time.' 

' My sister Subbama is quite unwell. There don't 
seem to be any good physicians in our village at all, and 
what to do I don't know.' 

' Why not get the byragi to prescribe for her V asked 
Raghavacharya ; ' he won't take money even if you offer 
it him. I can't tell you to how many people in the 
place he has given medicine out of pure charity — and 
cured cases of long standing, too.' 

* If he is so expert, won't you bring him round to 
our house for a little while at noon to see Subbama V 
asked Eajasekhara; 'she's been unwell for some four 
days past, and we're in great straits about the cooking.' 

'Certainly, I'll bring him. There's no uppishness 
about him. No matter who calls him, he'll come.' 

' They say,' observed the astrologer, ' that he pos- 
sesses the art of making gold. It is simply astounding 
what great men there are among these Gosains !' 

' It's reported that every day he melts a farthing's 
weight of copper and transmutes it into gold,' put in 
Raghavacharya ; ' now and then, too, he makes dona- 
tions to Brahmans. Unless he posseses the art, where 
does his money come from ?' 

' Raghavacharya, is the Swami's Recital Feast getting 
on all right V interrupted Rajasekliara. 

' While we are sure of your honour's patronage, what 
can be wanting for the feasts ? Last year the Sam- 
kranti feast was celebrated wholly at your honour's 
expense. It seems only yesterday or the dav before. 
And — to-morrow is actually the Samkranti ! The 
truth is, I came to ask a favour of your honour in 
regard to this very matter; but as Subbama is sick, I 



56 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

thought it an unfavourable opportunity, and so did not 
mention it.' 

' Last year I gave a hundred and fifty rupees ; but as 
some weddings are about to come off among our people, 
I can give only a hundred this year. You must make 
out with that amount in some way or other.' 

' Just as you think best. What does it matter about 
that ? I'll do as you say.' 

* Eaghavacharya, bring the hyragi to the house this 
very day without fail ; and you have some other busi- 
ness to attend to afterwards, remember. The day is 
getting on — go at once. Astrologer, in case you are 
still in doubt, you had better examine Sankarayya's 
liososcope once more; and should it be necessary for 
you to consult with anyone, you're at liberty to show 
the lioroscope to Lachayya-sastri as well.' 

' As you please ; but I have no such doubt,' replied 
the astrologer. 

' If that is so, go home now, and come in later on.' 

Thus dismissed, those present went to their homes. 
By the time Eajasekhara had dined and washed his 
hands, Eaghavacharya brought along the hyragi and 
introduced him to the house. Eajasekhara daily did 
him all kinds of good offices, and courted his favour 
assiduously. Notwithstanding that Subbama's illness 
disappeared immediately, Eajasekhara would not con- 
sent to let the hyragi go, but, out of a desire to acquire 
the art of making gold, lodged him in his own house 
and paid him such attentions as were calculated to win 
his favour — supplying him with rice and milk at every 
opportunity, providing the fuel needed by the hyragi 
to keep himself warm, and devoting himself to him in 
general. Several days passed in this manner, and 
meanwhile the Nuptial Feast of Janardana-swami ap- 
proached. To celebrate this festival the people flocked 
in thousands from the surrounding villages until every 
house in the town was packed. 

On the twelfth day of the bright fortnight of the 
month Magha all the requisite ceremonies of the Car 




' Upon the upper part of the car where the god not they placed 
the trunks of plantain trees ' {p. 59). 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 59 

Festival were in full progress, For four days they had 
been decorating the car, fastening about it cloths of 
various colours and bright-hued papers. To the ends of 
bamboo-poles they tied banners painted over with figures 
of Hanuman and Garuda,* and fixed these also upon the 
car. Upon the upper part of the car where the god sat 
they placed the trunks of plantain-trees bending be- 
neath their clusters of green fruit, and tied to these 
garlands of mango-leaves and various kinds of flowers. 
Between the stems of the plantain-trees a pair of 
white lacquered horses faced the street, tossing their 
heads and lifting their feet high in the air as though 
drawing the car. Some ten paces in front of the car, 
men, thrust into distorted images constructed of plaited 
bamboo-splints covered with cloth and representing 
Anjaneya and Garuda, leapt and wagged their lacquered 
skulls in such a manner as to strike terror to the hearts 
of the children and country people who had come to see 
the sights. The priests hoist the images into a palanquin, 
descend the hill to the accompaniment of music, and seat 
Swami in the car after causing him to circumambulate 
it thrice. The crowds near pelt the god from below with 
plantains, while the priests and others seated upon the 
car ward off the blows with their hands, and ring hand- 
bells at intervals with shouts of ' Govinda ! Govinda !' 
The people in hundreds immediately seize upon the 
cables attached to the huge wain and drag it along with 
such right goodwill that the roofs of the houses and the 
very street pials are like to fall. At that moment a 
musical procession stopped a short distance in front of 
the car, and a female put her hand to a drum and began 
to beat. No sooner was the roll of the drum heard, than 
the principal personages seated with the god came elbow- 
ing their way through the crowd, and, sending to the 
rear those who obstructed the way, themselves preceded 
the players and conducted the procession, that no inter- 
ruption might occur to the music. 

Rukmini, too, decked in all her jewels, and beautiful 

* The kneeling griffin upon which Vishnu is represented as riding. 



6o FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

as a thora-apple blossom, came that way and stopped 
beside a pial to watch the car. Her skirt fell in heavy 
undulating folds to her instep ; over the left shoulder 
there came flowing down her back a gold-laced mantle 
woven with sprigs of lace ; the dark petticoat, dotted 
with doves' eyes, that she wore, added a rarer grace to 
her beauty ; the silver anklets and other ornaments 
upon her feet tinkled melodious music ; except her 
right hand all the rest of her person was hidden in her 
mantle, but her ripe-brinjal-hued,"^ close-fitting silk 
bodice shone doubly brilliant in the soft sunshine from 
its partial concealment ; and, to crown all, the orange- 
blossoms in her hair diffused a delicate perfume on the 
breeze, and rendered the Fragrance Bearer-f* worthy of 
his name. The women of this country, as a rule, con- 
sider it reprehensible to put on costly clothing and 
adorn themselves when their husbands are not at home; 
but when they attend a married woman's party on the 
occurrence of any happy event, or when they go out to 
witness the marriage festival of a god in the town, or 
the gatherings in honour of the village goddesses, they 
never fail to deck themselves out in rich cloths and 
costly jewels, even though they have to be hired for the 
occasion. How, then, shall I describe Eukmini's beauty 
at such a time ? To satisfy the hunger of one's eyes 
they must actually behold (for no mere description will 
suffice) the naiveU of her sweet face^ at that moment 
overflowing with the very essence of beauty. The 
black bandsj encircling her large almond eyes endowed 
them with a rarer fascination ; and the crescent hottii of 
rouge shone lustrous on a forehead that rivalled the 
half moon in its semblance of a smile. As soon as the 
car had passed her line of view there went by palmers 
plastered thickly over with the twelve upright marks, 
who, lighting lamps on iron stands and binding their 

* Purple and gold, or warm brown, 
f A title of Vayu, the air. 

X Hindu women use a mixture of lampblack and oil to heighten the 
brilliancy of their eyes. 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 6i 

■waists tightly about with their cloths, waved in one 
hand whisks of peacock feathers, and with the other 
dipped cloth rolls into oil, and lighting them, rubbed 
them over their whole bodies with such skill as not to 
burn themselves, the while receiving and throwing into 
the base of their lamp-stands the coppers showered upon 
them by the gaping crowd. As soon as this uproar 
abated Rukmini's mother and several other women 
started out together, passed the fruitstalls and copper- 
smiths' shops opened in booths by people from the 
neighbouring villages — threw cowries and pulse to the 
shouting cripples who sat on cloths spread by the steps 
at the roadsides — avoided the cunning pilgrims who, 
Benares kavadies* stuck in front and pictures in hand, 
stopped those who came and went with the assertion 
that they could discover saints and sinners, reveal heaven 
and hell — and ascended the hill to see the god. Here 
the crowd was so thick that sand sprinkled on their 
heads would not fall to the ground. Stalwart men, 
desirous of offering fruit to the god, forced their way 
out of this living mass, and, overwhelmed in the crush 
near the temple gates, concluded that while the pressure 
was so great it would be as much as they could do to 
escape with a whole skin, and turning back when only 
half way in, fell out at the rear, no little pleased at their 
release. Others more powerful than they, forced their 
way to the very sanctuary itself, placed their offer- 
ings in the priests' hands, and then fell out again. The 
priests themselves came out one after another, and after 
wringing out their cloths (soaked with sweat) and en- 
joying a little breathing-spell in the cool breeze, entered 
the sanctuary to swelter once more in the terrible heat. 
One of the priests who had thus come out, catching 
sight of Manikyamba, took the fruit from her hand and 
went- in and offered it to the god ; then returning with 
some fruit and tulasi blossoms from the heap within, he 

* Ganges water is carried by these pilgrims to all parts of India, and 
ia highly prized by the piuus. 



62 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

gave these to her and placed his sathagopa* ou the 
head of each. Manikyamba turned back, and was about 
to pass the gate of the temple. Eukmini stood just 
behind, holding ou to the end of her mother's cloth, 
Sita was standing on one side and an elderly duenna 
on the other. At that moment some one thrust his hand 
into Eukmini's neck from behind, and with a jerk 
wrenched off her coin necklace. Ere Eukmini could 
turn and look about her, both hand and necklace had 
disappeared. At her scream a dozen persons gathered 
around and attempted to catch the thief : but the rogue 
was himself in this very crowd, and joined the search 
for the culprit. So Eukmini and her companions re- 
turned home at nightfall greatly distressed at the loss of 
the jewel. 

CHAPTEE VI. 

The Magician's Device on the Loss of the Valuable — News of the Death 
of Riikmini's Husband— Rukmini falls Sick — They consult a 
Diviner — Her Husband haunts her — Witch-doctoring — Alchemy — 
The Byragi disappears with the Money. 

One morning, while Eajasekhara was seated upon the 
street piai cleaning his teeth, up came the astrologer in 
company with another Brahman and perched himself on 
one side of the jpial. After eyeing from head to foot 
the other figure sitting profound — a silver-headed cane 
in his hand, his hair, beard and nails long uncut, and 
a great rouge hottu filling the space between his eyes — 
Eajasekhara asked the astrologer who he was. 

' This worthy man,' replied the astrologer, ' is a great 
magician ; he spent some time in the Maliyalam country, 
and gained a thorough knowledge of the secret mantras. 
Happening to be on thebankoftheKistnahehas honoured 
us by coming here on a pilgrimage. His name is Hari- 
sastri. He has heretofore in various places restored 
lost articles in the twinkling of an eye. For the past 

* A bell-shaped vessel graved with Vishnu's sandals. The act of 
placing it upon the worshipper's head denotes the remission of sins. 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 63 

four years he has voluntarily lived the life of an 
anchorite.'"'^ 

Although the astrologer had known this worthy for 
only two days, he enlarged upon his history like one 
who could claim acquaintance with him from the very 
day of his birth, and recalling that verse of the Dak- 
sha-smHti which says, ' He who embraces the anchoritic 
state grows his nails and hair,* described him as above 
simply because he had these appendages long, Hari- 
sastri then boasted at some length of his magical power, 
and recited without faltering in the least, like one who 
had with considerable labour got them by heart, a list of 
localities where, he asserted, he had already restored 
lost articles. At this juncture the astrologer informed 
him that Eukmini had lost a valuable, and begged him 
to give them some trace of its whereabouts. Harisastri 
at once applied his spread fingers to the cartilage of his 
nose, and turned his gaze towards the sky. After 
counting his fingers for a moment with an air of pro- 
found reflection, he replied that the lost article had 
been carried off by some one who came and went about 
the house, and not by an outsider. Eajasekhara having 
by this time finished washing his face, all went 
inside together. Stopping in the hall, Harisastri re- 
marked that as for restoring the lost article the whole 
responsibility rested upon him, and that he would come 
at noon and construct the magic figure, at which time 
all the household servants must be present. He then 
desired that a little rice be brought. The astrologer 
himself went into the house and brought the rice in a 
platter, at the same time calling all the menials whom 
he found in the house, in accordance with Harisastri's 
desire. Begging them to test the power of his magic, 
Harisastri stated that if anyone present would take an 
article and hide it secretly, he would tell that person's 

* To every Brahman are ordained four asramas, or stages of religious 
advancement in thin life, viz: (1) the bramhackari, or bachelor; (2) 
the (jrihachari, or householder ; (3) the vanaprastha, or anchorite 
(4) the yati, or arahat. 



64 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

name. "With this remark he went out into the street. 
Rajasekhara handed his ring to one of the party, telling 
him to conceal it carefully. After he had taken his 
seat the sastri was called in and asked to point out the 
person who had hidden the ring. The sastri imme- 
diately put rice into the hands of all present, and bade 
them come one by one and pour it into the platter. He 
himself fell to repeating a mantra. Each one in his 
turn came and poured his rice into tlie dish. The sastri 
at once indicated a certain person to be he who had the 
ring. At this all present were filled with astonishment. 
Even Rajasekhara acknowledged him to be a great 
magician, and saluted him ; and, believing that the lost 
jewel would undoubtedly be restored by his magic 
power, again and again begged him to come without fail 
at noon. He moreover charged the astrologer to be 
sure and fetch him. The astrologer and Harisastri 
wended their way homeward with smiling faces, en- 
joying sweet communion. Before going to Rajasekhara's 
house at all, the astrologer and the sastri had secretly 
talked the whole matter over, and agreed that each 
should have half of whatever reward he might bestow. 
So, after deciding privately what plan they should adopt 
beforehand to give Rajasekhara confidence in the magi- 
cian's powers, the astrologer, before they left home at 
all, had settled that he was to pour his rice into the 
platter immediately after the person who should hide 
the article, and that Harisastri should then declare this 
person to be the party who had concealed it. Thus the 
sastri was able instantly to point out him who took the 
ring. 

After dinner they set out, the astrologer and Hari- 
sastri, with all necessary utensils, and came to Rajase- 
khara's house. Already the servants and other members 
of the household had been summoned. The astrologer 
began making inquiries in a tone sufficiently loud fur 
the sastri to hear, as to who had accompanied Rukmini 
on the occasion of the car festival, and who were b}' 
when the necklace disappeared. He then approached 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 65 

the sastri and whispered a quiet word in his ear, after 
which he moved off and engaged in conversation on 
some other subject. By this time Eajasekhara had 
arrived, and invited them into the house. Harisastri 
picked up his custodial* and withdrew, with the assur- 
ance that he would be back in a minute. After a 
slight delay he returned with his brass box in his hand 
and a copper bracelet on his right arm. A porch had 
been cleaned with cowdung and reserved for him. In 
this he drew, in lines of white, black, and green, a large 
iigure. Placing the brass box he had brought with him on 
the abdomen of this figure, he opened the lid with the ex- 
clamation, ' Hail, Mother !' repeated a short incantation 
with shut eyes, and then turned towards Eajasekhara 
and desired him to bring him a sheet of white paper. 
At that time no paper was to be had except that from 
Kondapalli. Eajasekhara's son went into a room and 
brought him a sheet of this. While the eyes of all were 
fixed upon him, he tore the paper into eight equal parts, 
of which he laid one by his side and distributed the 
remaining seven among the company. By the power of 
the deity whom he served, he said, the name of the 
person who had stolen the article would appear upon 
that slip of paper. Placing the slip in the brass box he 
left it there a moment while he repeated a mantra, and 
then drew it out again and exhibited it to all with his 
own hand. Eubbing rouge upon its four corners from 
beneath, he drew upon it, with offertorial camphor, the 
talismanic letters and a magic diagram, laid it down, 
and commanded them to come and place their hands 
upon it in succession. Each one laid his hand upon the 
white paper as it lay in plain sight, and returning to his 
place watched with keen curiosity to see what would 
happen next. After all had touched the paper, Hari- 
sastri took it up, waved over it incense of benjamin, 
lighted some offertorial camphor, passed the slip over 
it four or five times, and handed it to Eajasekhara. 

* A brass box for holding idols. 



66 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

When he took the paper and examined it, there ap- 
peared written upon it in large characters the words 
' WASHERMAN SAEI.' On holding the paper up, 
the crooked characters were plainly visible to all ; 
and when some one near took the paper and read the 
words aloud, all, with the single exception of a certain 
poor washerman, were filled with astonishment and 
delight, and fell to clapping their hands and applauding 
vociferously the sastri's skill and power of divination. 
Some who were present began to accuse the sastri him- 
self of being the thief, and to assert that he was stand- 
ing just behind when the necklace disappeared. But 
Sita declared that on that occasion Sarvi-gardu stood 
in their rear with some fruit in his hand ; whereupon 
all concluded that the person who had stolen the jewel 
was none other than Sarvi-gardu the washerman. Eaja- 
sekhara and all the other members of the household 
believed the same. But when they demanded that he 
hand over the lost article instanter, the washerman, with 
tears flowing in one steady stream from his eyes to the 
floor, began to swear by his wife and children that he 
knew nothing whatever about the theft. Everyone 
knew, of course, that these were only crocodile tears ; 
yet, notwithstanding all their threatening and coaxing, 
he still, with tears, declared that he was innocent, until 
finally Harisastri drew Eajasekhara aside and intimated 
that he had but to say the word and he would mes- 
merize the washerman and so make him restore the 
missing article. As the washerman had done his work 
most faithfully from his very childhood, Rajasekhara 
was unwilling that any injury should be done him, and 
simply dismissed him from his service. The washerman 
went to his home weeping, and declaring himself inno- 
cent. What the astrologer had in the first instance 
whispered in the sastri's ear was an intimation that he 
should write the name of the washerman Sarvi. When, 
however, he withdrew on a pretence of fetching his 
custodial, he had written on a slip of paper with onion- 
juice the words ' Washerman Sari,' omitting the v 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 67 

througli ignorance of spelling. After drying this slip 
and placing it in the box, he returned. When Eaja- 
sekhara's son brought out the paper, the sastri tore 
it into slips. When, however, he put this into the 
box, he changed it, and drew out the original paper. 
As the two papers were exactly alike, no one had 
the least suspicion. His writing the magic letters on 
the paper with the offertorial camphor was for no other 
purpose in the world than to get rid of the smell of the 
onions. Smoking it afterwards in the benjamin fumes 
and over the camphor, was a device for bringing out 
plainly the letters which did not already show. In 
recognition of the brave deed which Harisastri had 
thus performed by the power of his magic, Eaja- 
sekhara tied about him a web of girdle-cloth, and pre- 
sented him with four rupees in cash, and that, too, 
notwithstanding the fact that the lost necklace still 
remained unfound. On returning home the sastri and 
the astrologer divided this reward of their services in 
equal shares. 

When the sun was about three hours high on the 
morning of the day following these events, Rukmini was 
sitting alone in the veranda of the west room worrying 
over the loss of her jewelry, and reflecting with mixed 
feelings on the fact that though the period fixed by the 
fortune-teller had expired the very day before, her 
husband had not yet returned. At that moment a young 
man of about the age of twenty walked in, and, throw- 
ing down the bundle of clothes which he carried in his 
hand, gazed into Rukmini's face and burst into a flood 
of tears. Seeing this Eukmini herself fell to weeping, 
although wholly ignorant of any reason for so doing. 
The inmates of the house, hearing the sound of wailing, 
came running out to inquire what the matter was. 
The young man choked his tears, and in reply stated 
that Nrusimhu-swami, Rukmini's husband, while coming 
from Kasi had, on the way, at Jagannadham, on the 
nintli of the bright fortnight of the month Pushy a, 
paid the debt of nature, and that he himself had per- 

5—2 



68 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

formed the crematory and other ceremonies. No sooner 
did they hear these words than the whole household 
with one accord fell to weeping uproariously. Eajasek- 
hara, who was in his office, and the inmates of the 
neighbouring houses, hearing the sound of lamentation, 
came in and joined unreservedly in the family grief on 
learning the calamity that had befallen them. Those 
present who were more advanced in years then had 
them all bathe, consoling them the while by quoting 
scripture texts. After several days had thus passed a 
number of relatives and friends spoke to Eajasekhara 
about removing Rukmini's hair ; but out of love for his 
daughter he would not consent to have that act per- 
formed while she was so young ; and all were fain to 
concede that no trouble would arise from the omission, 
and that the course he had chosen was best. 

The mind even of an enemy cannot but be shocked 
at the bare thought of the wretched condition, in this 
country, of women who have lost their husbands. The 
very parents who should console and aid them in for- 
getting grief for their husbands, pitilessly make the 
daughters whom they bore — now overwhelmed in a sea 
of sorrow at the loss of the lords of their life — aliens to 
all adornments, disfigure them by shaving their heads, 
and force them to sit, veiled, ia a corner. They shrivel 
them up by neglecting to provide regularly even suffi- 
cient food to satisfy hunger, throwing them only a few 
grains of boiled rice in the afternoon when all the rest 
have dined. They permit them to wear no decent 
raiment, even though they desire to do so, allowing 
them only a coarse cloth without a border. Why a 
thousand words ? The lives of those bereft of their 
husbands they make very vessels of sorrow, and lay 
them by like living corpses. Modest women regard 
death itself as preferable to surrendering to the knife of 
a heartless barber the beautiful tresses which, given by 
no earthly hand, were bestowed as an ornament at their 
very birth by the Supreme One, and which, from earliest 
childhood, they have oiled and combed and cherished 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 69. 

as they have life itself. All the hard and mean work 
of the house falls upon them. No sooner do they reach 
the home of their birth, than elder brothers' wives and 
younger brothers' wives regard them as slaves.* On 
festal occasions, so far from tolerating their mingling on 
terms of equality with others — let them only so much 
as show their faces and everyone abuses them for birds 
of ill omen. For these reasons the very term ' widow ' 
strikes like a keen dart upon the hearer's ear. But 
call a female a 'widow,' and she at once flies into a 
towering passion at what she regards as a frightful piece 
of abuse. 

This whole state now appeared, as it were, before her 
very eyes ; and from the day she received the above 
intelligence Rukmini took to her room and left it 
neither day nor night, abandoned both food and sleep, 
and began to grieve and pine for her husband. Along 
with her sorrow some sickness or other also fastened 
upon her ; but until she became so weak that she was 
unable to rise, no one discovered this fact. As soon as 
it became known, however, Rajasekhara called one 
Basavayya, a Jangam who was celebrated as an excel- 
lent physician, and showed him the sick girl's hand. 
Seating himself upon the cot where Eukmini lay, he 
took her left hand in his, and remarked that her 
pulse indicated fever. She had had, he said, the 
ague for several days, and, as they had not discovered 
it at once, it had become deeply seated. Quoting 
from his book of pharmacy the sloka, 'Mercury, 
cassia chips, rue, dry ginger, long pepper, black 
pepper, mace . . . root of nightshade, cobwebs, 
ground and black tulasi, betelnut, green paun-leaf 
. . . leaf of the chaste tree . . . and stems of ripe 
banyan-leaf break up ague,' he wrote these ingre- 
dients on paper, and for the time went home. By 

* On the death of the husband, the wife, if young and without 
children or property, return.s to her father's house. Here, owing to the 
prevalence of community of goods among the Hindus, there may be 
several brothers' families. 



70 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

mid-day Eajasekhara had obtained all the necessary 
articles and senb word to the doctor ; who, when he 
returned, had them triturated, made them up into 
powders, and told them to administer three powders 
three times a day with honey as a vehicle. As lor diet, 
he prohibited only oil, pumpkin, spinach, acids, roots, 
and jac-fruit. He continued his visits in this way 
twice a day, examining her pulse and observing her 
symptoms. At first Eukmini's condition slightly im- 
proved ; then delirium and other bad symptoms set in 
at night, and the fever began to grow steadily worse. 
When they called the doctor in and demanded why it 
had not yet abated, he quoted the words, ' A fever con- 
tracted when the moon is in the 27th or 17th lunar 
mansion continues for many days,' and stated that as 
this fever had set in under the 27th mansion, it would 
not soon be got rid of. Eajasekhara's confidence in 
this man's word was now pretty well shaken, and he 
called another doctor who practised in the place to see 
Kukmini. He felt her pulse and at once pronounced it 
to be bilious fever ; but he asserted that in thirty-six 
hours he could make Eukmini's a constitution strong as 
adamant. Possessing, however, a larger stock of words 
than of drugs, he took refuge in a certain rule which 
says that ' Abstinence from food is the supreme cure-all,' 
and began to appoint her fasts. He declared incessantly 
that the fever must have its course for nine days ; but 
seeing Eukmini waste away and grow weaker and 
weaker day by day, they paid no further attention to 
him, but abandoned his treatment and called in the first 
doctor again. He immediately regulated the diet and 
began the use of medicines as before. Through the 
efficacy of his prescriptions the disease at first gave 
some slight indications of turning ; but it eventually 
proved to be not one whit the less virulent. 

Meanwhile Manikyamba, actuated by love for her 
daughter, rose one Sunday morning at four o'clock, just 
as it was breaking day, and taking Subbama with her, 
and starting so that they should get there before anyone 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 71 

else, went herself to the Temple of Koralama * to con- 
sult the oracle. When Manikyamba had burned incense, 
the pariali woman in charge of the temple placed herself 
en rajpport with her patron deity, and impersonat- 
ing Eukmini's husband, wailed out that he had 
died like a mateless bird in an evil land, and affirmed 
that out of love to Rukmini he had now come to take 
her to himself. At this declaration both Manikyamba 
and Subbama fell to weeping. After their grief had 
somewhat abated they gave the pariah woman the cus- 
tomary guerdon and went home. 

Both at night in her dreams and by day when she 
shut her eyes, Eukmini's husband now began to appear 
to her. Sometimes, too, she heard liira as it were 
talking to her ; but she could not comprehend his words. 
!N"ow and then she would cry out in her sleep, thinking 
that some one was seated upon her breast. 

While matters were in this state Harisastri one day 
returned in another guise, and after examining Euk- 
mini's pulse averred that it indicated demoniacal pos- 
session. They had the hyragi apply sacred ashes and 
administer draughts of holy water; but Eukmini did 
not appear to derive the slightest benefit from this 
treatment. One day there came along a mendicant 
playing the dahha.'f In his head-cloth was stuck a 
bunch of bird's feathers, a bundle of canes was 
swung over his shoulder, and on his back, suspended 
from the canes, hung a huge leather bag. On Mani- 
kyamba asking an augury, he looked into a palm-leaf 
book decorated with lines and figures, and said that on 
the day they went to the feast a wraith had alighted 
from a juvvi tree and taken possession of her daughter, 
hut that it would leave her if exorcised with the lamp. 
He gave her a bit of root, and instructed her to put it in 

* A village goddess. Their number is legion, and their worship very 
common among the lower castes. 

-j- A small double drum-like rattle. A tiny ball of earth is fastened 
by a string to the centre, and made to strike each side in succession by 
rapidly twirling in the hand. These mendicants are called buda 
hudakkan, perhaps from the noise made by this instrument. 



72 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

a silver amulet and tie it to the fleshy part of the girl's 
arm. Thereafter he went his way with a rupee as his 
reward. 

Manikyamba accordingly exorcised Rukmini with 
the lamp, but no good resulted even from that. One 
day Subbama, going into a trance, impersonated Xen- 
katesvara, and declared that the v/hole thing was the 
result of his power ; but if the mother, he said, would 
come to the hill and worship, vowing to him her orna- 
ments and habiliments as she stood, all would turn out 
well. Manikyamba accordingly prostrated herself be- 
fore the mountain god and vowed one of her jewels ; 
but notwithstanding all this, Eukmini's health improved 
not a whit. 

Harisastri then declared upon his honour that he 
would cause the demon to speak through the girl, and 
drive it out that very night. Ere the sun was yet two 
hours high he was on hand, and, after having the porch 
cleaned with cow-dung, drew the figure of a woman 
the full length of the floor in coloured lines, and so 
distorted that the bravest might well tremble at sight 
of it. After taking a bath he shook out hisjutta, and 
plastered his face all over in one great saffron bottu. 
He then had Rukmini bathed and placed in the midst 
of the drawing in her wet clothes, and rubbed sacred 
ashes upon her face and stationed men all around to 
make kettle music. Touching her forehead with lamps 
so bright as to dazzle the eyes, and burning incense of 
such potency as to intoxicate even those who were well, 
he pronounced the cabalistic letters in a voice so loud 
as to make the children in the neighbouring houses 
quake, and seizing a cane fell upon Eukmini with eyes 
glaring as though about to beat her, shouting, ' Tell the 
truth as it is !' Rukmini had already lost consciousness, 
and was wildly gazing about her ; so she affirmed, in 
accordance with what her mother had said after con- 
sulting the diviner, that she was Nrusimhuswami ; that 
his love for his wife being insatiable he had taken pos- 
session of her; and that he would shortly take her 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 75 

away with him. The sastri then rubbed something on 
her face to counteract the intoxication, and bade those 
who stood about carry her in as soon as she had re- 
gained consciousness, and apply cooling lotions. These 
directions given, Harisastri went home for the time. 
All that day and the next Eukmini lay weak and in- 
sensible. The next morning Harisastri again put in an 
appearance. The spirit that had taken possession of 
Eukmini was, he said, a stubborn one. It could be 
exorcised only by means of the supreme mantra ; but 
he would yet drive it out even though he had to call 
into requisition the merit of all the austerities he had 
ever subjected himself to. He accordingly directed 
Rajasekhara to get ready ere night nine cubits of new 
cloth, a inaund * of ghi for the lamp, some flowers, six 
cubits oi hempen rope, a few nails, and a brass vessel 
capable of holding a couple of quarts of water, and to 
have a room with but one door cleaned witli cow-dung 
and held in readiness. Rajasekhara prepared everything 
carefully in accordance with these directions, and sat 
anticipating the sastri's arrival. It was after nine 
o'clock in the evening when Harisastri returned. He 
at once lighted a lamp in the room and placed his cus- 
todial near it, and, after drawing in the centre of the 
room a small design with rice-flour, seated Eukmini on 
it and mumbled a mantra for a moment. He then by 
a magic rite closed the four quarters of the heavens 
that the demon might not escape, sprinkled charmed 
water in the corners of the room, and commanded those 
present to take Eukmini out. When they had removed 
her he bolted the room door on the inside, but after a 
little came out and locked the door behind him. The 
spirit, he said, had during its lifetime gotten possession 
of the Nrusimha-mantra and would not give in to any 
deity whatever. By exerting liis whole strength he 
had merely succeeded in binding it so that it should not 
leave the room. If, however, he used the griffin mantra 

* Twenty-five ijounds. 



74 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 



from the outside, it might succumb after a hard fight, but 
in no other way was the thing possible. He at once 
began the repetition of the griffin mantra — ' May you, 
most horribly mangled, become food for the griffin, the 
king of birds, the destroyer of all enemies, existent in 
the cabalistic characters Om, Khim, Kharn, Ghrasi, 
Hum, Phat.' 

By the time he had twice repeated the incantation 
there were heard from within tlie room blows as of one 
person beating another. Then followed a heavy thud. 
The blows continued distinctly audible for the space of 
lialf an hour, when the noise ceased, and Harisastri, 
affirming that the spirit had been very easily caught, 
and that he must at once take it and blend it in the 
Godaveri, went alone into the room, gathered up all the 
articles it contained, and carried them off. From the 
following day Eukmini's sickness gradually abated and 
she began to grow rapidly better. Later, the Brahman 
directed them to take a copper plate, draw on one side 



10 


5 


16 


3 


15 


4 


9 


6 


1 


14 7 


12 


8 


11 


2 


13 



of it a figure of Anjaneya and the essential letters, and 
on the other a diagram (as here shown) containing four- 
teen squares numbered in such a way that they should 
amount to thirty-four however added. If this amulet 
were tied to Eukmini's neck, no manner of spirit could 
do her any harm so long as it remained. Rajasekhara, 
in addition to giving the sastri a length of girdle-cloth 
for freeing his daughter from the demoniacal plague, 
made him a donation in addition of one hundred and 
sixteen rupees. 

When the sastri brought his image box that night he 
had in it only a few stone idols. When, after sending 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 75 

everyone out, he sat quite alone in the room, he shut 
the door, drove the nails into the middle of the mud 
ceiling and tied the hempen rope to them, tore otf a 
small piece of the new cloth and knotted the stone 
images in this at short intervals, dipped the cloth freely 
in the ghi and tied it by one end to the hempen rope, 
hlled the vessel with water on the ground directly 
beneath it, spread the flowers neatly over the surface 
of the water, touched the lamp to the end of the cloth, 
and came out to await events. In two or three minutes 
the drops of burning grease with which the cloth was 
soaked began to drop into the water go-tap, producing 
a sound as of blows falling upon a human body. When 
it had burnt up to the stone images, these loosened 
and fell into the water with a loud noise ; but owing to 
the flowers with which the bottom of the vessel was 
covered, it did not sound at all like the clang of brass. 
After the cloth was quite consumed the sastri went in 
and gathered up the soot and rubbish clean, and carried 
away all vestiges of the deceit he had practised. 

Actuated by a deeply-seated desire to acquire the 
alchemical art, Kajasekhara still continued his constant 
attentions to the byragi, and courted his favour with an 
eye open to the coming opportunity. One day while 
the byragi was taking his ease after his morning repast, 
Kajasekhara approached and addressed him deferentially. 

* Bavaji, is there such a thing in the world as the art 
of making gold V 

' There is,' replied the byragi, with a low chuckle. 
After some further conversation Kajasekhara clasped his 
hands with supreme reverence and devotion, and asked : 
' Of what nature is this art V 

Thereupon replied the byragi that ' that was the supreme 
arcanum ; yet would he reveal it to him ;' and went on 
to relate that in bygone ages iron was turned into gold 
by means of the philosopher's stone, unknown in this, 
the Iron Age ; that of old Sankaracharya * taught the art 

* A disciple of Vishnu, and the originator of the ithanmatan, or six 
creeds, in vogue among Hindus. He stands at the head of the Vedic 



76 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

of transmuting metals to a toddy-drawer who made gold 
at pleasure, and at last joining the Yogis, communicated 
the secret to them and gave up the ghost ; that his own 
preceptor had instructed him in this same art, but as the 
disclosure of the necessary mantra had been incom- 
plete, it had never proved of any use to him ; and that 
lie could now make gold by means of vegetable saps 
only. All this as though he uttered it simply as a 
favour to Rajasekhara. As everyone, he said, would 
pester him to make gold, he desired that the matter be 
kept a profound secret. Eajasekhara bound himself to 
preserve the secret as desired, and prayed the hyragi in 
many sorts to confide to him without delay the recipe 
for making gold. But to this the hyragi objected. 
Householders, said he, must not employ this art ; if 
they did, they would suffer loss of family. He would 
himself, however, make gold, and give it to such as had 
confidence in him ; but he could on no consideration 
disclose the recipe. 

Eajasekhara now conceived the notion of at least 
having some gold made for himself, and patronized the 
hyragi with greater assiduity and reverence than ever. 
While he was one morning sitting with the hyragi, after 
presenting him with some milk and sugar that he had 
brought, that worthy — the workings of whose face indi- 
cated that Rajasekhara stood high in his favour for the 
nonce — asked him to fetch two annas' weight of gold 
and a like quantity of silver. "When he had brought 
these, the hyragi tied both together in a rag, which he 
then proceeded to place on the coals before Raja- 
sekhara^s astonished eyes. After allowing it to remain 
in the fire for a moment the hyragi squeezed out upon 
it the juice of a leaf, and after waiting a little while 
removed it with a pair of tongs, and placed in Raja- 
sekhara's hand four annas' weight of gold. This only 
served to render him the more eager, and he begged the 



system, and is the author of a celebrated commentary on the Sutras of 
Vyasa. He is said to have been born about A.n. 100. 




When he returned fan in hand, Ike hyragi wan blowing the fire 
through a bamboo joiut^ (p. 79). 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 79 

byragi again and again to combine all the gold and 
silver he had in the house and turn it into gold at a 
stroke. He repeated this request with so much persist- 
ency that at last the Gosain gave ear to his prayer, and 
set him to gather together all the gold and silver in the 
house, and fetch it to him in a bundle. In accordance 
with this command Eajasekhara collected the jewels of 
the household, the silver plate and the cash, tied them 
up in a huge bundle, and brought them away to the 
byragi so secretly that not a soul in the house knew 
anything about the matter. The byragi immediately 
made a fire of cow-dung cakes, and had Eajasekhara 
place the bundle upon it with his own hands. He then 
covered it up and sent Eajasekhara into the house to 
bring a fan. When he returned fan in hand, the byragi 
was blowing the fire through a bamboo joint, and the 
bundle was plainly visible through the interstices of the 
dung-cakes. After throwing on a few more cakes and 
making a blaze, the byragi rose with the remark that 
he must go and fetch some necessary roots from Vama- 
giri, for unless he brought them in person and expressed 
the juice, the whole would not become gold. Until he 
returned Eajasekhara was to pile on the fuel, keep up 
the fire, and watch the bundle carefully. With this 
injunction away went the byragi for the roots, aud 
though he failed to put in appearance again, Eajasekhara 
stuck to the spot and sent men to call him. They 
searched the whole hill, and, finding no trace of him 
there, supposed he had gone to some more distant hill 
for some scarce herb that he was unable to find, and 
accordingly returned to the village with this piece of 
information. The byragi did not return — perhaps 
because he failed to find the roots which make gold. 
Eajasekhara waited for him a whole day, when, on 
opening out the fire, he found in it, not gold and silver, but 
a simple white calx. Delighted that the silver had so 
easily been transformed into calx of gold, Eajasekhara 
concealed ii carefully ; but, for some reason or other, 
this substance seemed to possess neither weight nor any 
other characteristic of the calx of gold and similar metals. 



8o FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 



CHAPTER YII. 

Rajasekhara's Poverty — Death of Subbama — Conduct of Friends and 
Relatives — Journey to Rajahmundry — Bathing during the Eclipse. 

When" Rajasekhara read. ' Griefs and His hy the 
hundred destroy human happiness ; but where luealth 
is, there enters as through a wide-open door the most 
baleful calamity,' and other slohas which teach that 
money is the root of all evil, he often used to yield to 
the influence which pious books exert, and long for 
poverty. Unlike Lakshmi,"^ her worthy sister is ever easy 
of access ; so, no sooner did he frame the wish than the 
Goddess of Poverty immediately appeared and gratified 
his desire. Yet did not poverty seem quite so sweet 
after all as he had long anticipated. He had not now 
the wealth to bestow in charity that he formerly pos- 
sessed, and consequently the host of blatant flatterers 
who had hitherto been in the habit of lauding him for 
an Indra and a Chandra,t gradually deserted him and 
began to curry favour with those who had become rich 
and prosperous by his aid. Yet was Rajasekhara unable 
to send away empty those who begged of him with out- 
stretched palm, but denied with his hand itself what 
he could not refuse in words^ setting before those who 
asked a meal such food as he had. (For this reason it 
is that the happiness of the hospitable man, be he never 
so poor, is always gauged by his poverty.) But none of 
those seeming friends who had formerly condescended 
to grace his feasts with their presence, now took any 
pleasure in them. Even for these charities some means 
was essential ; and for a time Rajasekhara obtained 
money by pawning the brass utensils belonging to the 
house. Thus the household furniture diminished day 
by day, and the responsibility of guarding it grew light. 
After things had moved on in this way for a time, nearly 

* The Goddess of Wealth. 

f Indra, the Hindu Jupiter ; Chandra, the regent of the moon — 
Adonis. 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 8l 

all the movable furniture about the house became trans- 
formed into baskets and hampers and wooden-ware. 
Being even then unwilling to cause pain by refusing 
anyone who begged of him, he began at the instigation 
of the Goddess of Poverty, and in spite of the fact that 
he had never before so much as known the word false- 
hood, to give empty promises instead of gifts. Surely 
there is no more potent agency than poverty in causing 
men to commit evil ! For, though suffering thus keenly, 
he practised a certain amount of dissimulation, and 
endeavoured to hide his poverty from the eyes of others 
by wearing good clothes even at the expense of a less 
generous diet, and by giving to the poor, even though 
he went in debt for the means. What delusion it is, I 
know not ; but mortals the world over take much more 
pains to make others think them happy than they take 
to actually attain to that desirable condition. Although 
the Scriptures paint in glowing colours the pleasures 
and advantages accruing from poverty, and abuse wealth 
as the root of evil, poor Eajasekhara thought each 
moment an age while asking himself whether this 
Goddess of Poverty would never take her departure. 
He now began in consequence to supplicate more and 
more that Goddess of Fortune whom he had before 
regarded with indifference. But the more enamoured 
he became and the more assiduously he wooed, the 
farther did the coy goddess recede. 

Just then, of all times, Subbama fell sick again. 
Eajasekhara now got out of all patience, and rated her 
soundly for falling sick and causing him greater expense 
by her fasts and fooleries, her twenty baths daily, and 
her sitting around in wet cloths, at a time when he 
was so hard up for money. A Brahman who had come 
seeking work, and was going away disappointed, 
happening to be near, overheard this rencontre, and 
telling Eajasekhara that it was useless to abuse her, 
declared he would himself set to as a Brahman cook, 
and that they might let her stay sick as long as she 
pleased ; and, in fine, showed plainly that so long as he 

6 



82 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

was there, who could surpass either Nala or Bhima in 
the culinary art, she might even die, if she wished, for 
all he cared. How much of truth his words contained 
will never be known ; but at all events — whether be- 
cause there was no skilled physician available, or because 
it was the duty of this same Brahman to superintend 
her food and drink — the disease grew worse, and 
Subbama was one day found to be in extremis. The 
family priest declaring the astral influence to be bad on 
that particular day, they carried her into the street and 
made her a bed on the ground by the side of the wall, 
tying up a mat to shield her from the gaze of the 
passers-by. That night, about nine o'clock, she — 
tniraMle dictu — passed into the other world. All the 
members of the household held wake over the corpse 
that night until break of day, when, though they made 
every effort in their power from early morning, not one 
of the Brahmans in the village would come to their 
assistance. Eajasekhara then started out himself, and 
happening to find a bearer of corpses in the house of a 
dancing-woman, acquainted him with the circumstances; 
whereupon he fell to bargaining for the job, and, after 
finally consenting to carry the corpse to the burning 
ground for the small sum of sixteen rupees, rose and 
followed Kajasekhara. 

It is a fact disgraceful to the whole Brahman caste 
that, even at the present time in the Telugu country, 
when anyone dies in the house of a Brahman, and more 
especially in the house of a Smarta* his relatives and 
fellow-sectaries not only will not come and lend their 
assistance, as in other religions, but even though one go 
and implore them, actually make many excuses for their 
non-attendance, and conceal their faces from view. 
Where none will assist in this the most dreadful of all 
calamities, what is the advantage of embracing a re- 
ligion ? Or what harm can result from not professing 
any ? 

By the time the corpse left the house that day, it had 

* The hiffhest sect of Brahmans. 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 83 

gone twelve o'clock ; and when they reached home 
after performing the cremation, the sun was but two 
hours high in the west. Then followed the sancha- 
yana* and all the other obsequies prescribed by the 
rubric. 

Eriends and relatives now ceased to visit Eajasekhara 
as frequently as before. When they met him in the 
street, too, they attempted to pass by as though they 
did not see him ; and when there was no alternative but 
to stop and talk, they cut the conversation short with 
two or three words. Those who formerly praised him 
to his face when he discoursed, now either manifested 
their assent by a mere shake of the head, or began to 
listen to his utterances with sneers. After a while both 
the headshaking and the sneers ceased — or rather passed 
into inattentive humming and hawing ; and in course of 
time even these died away and gave place to all 
kinds of satirical remarks. Though both Eajasekhara 
and his wife and children were penniless, they inwardly 
derived no little comfort from the reflection that at least 
they had not squandered their wealth for any evil pur- 
pose, and were in consequence content with what little 
they had left. There were some, however, who per- 
ceived, and were unable to endure their happiness. 
These envious ones came to them under the cloak of 
friendship, and destroyed their peace by asserting that 
this, that, and the other one was slandering them. 
The very individuals who a thousand times before had 
praised Eajasekhara's liberality as largess, now began to 
condemn it for a sinful waste. Even they who had 
formerly reaped innumerable advantages off him, began 
now to point the finger of scorn when he passed along 
the street, and to jocosely inform the bystanders that this 
was a man who had squandered his whole fortune and 
become a magnanimous vagrant. Damodarayya, even, 
who used constantly to press him to betroth Sita to 
his son, now affirmed in the presence of various parties 
that he would never marry his son to that girl. When 

* Collecting the ashes and bones of a burnt corpse. 

G— 2 



84 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

this report reached Eajasekhara through a series of ears, 
he one day went and asked Damodarayya if it were 
true ; he replied curtly that he would not have the 
ceremony performed that year. The very astrologer 
who, in writing Subrahmanya's horoscope, had asserted 
that in the whole world there was no one so lucky as 
he, went to the parties who had promised their daughter 
to the lad and made them refuse to give the child, by 
affirming that Subrahmanya's, of all the horoscopes he 
had ever seen, was the worst. Though suffering thus 
keenly from want of money, Eajasekhara was unwilling 
to borrow of others, and endured the misery of his 
changed condition stoically. Thinking, however, that 
he surely could not be without at least one true friend, 
Manikyamba and Subrahmanya approached him with 
the supplication that he should ask a loan either of 
Xarayanamurti or some other person, and so obtain a 
liltle money for Subbama's masika.* Unable to deny 
their request, he sought an opportunity and asked 
Damodarayya, Narayanamurti, and a few others who 
had profited by him while conducting themselves as 
friends, for a loan. But these persons who formerly, 
when he did not want it, had been in the habit of 
declaring again and again, unsolicited and with every 
manifestation of pleasure, that they would be only too 
happy to let him have a loan, trust them for that ! — 
now that he really needed it, made a thousand excuses, 
and regretted they were so short of funds. Though 
the majority ceased coming to Eajasekhara's house, a 
few, for a brief period, still continued to visit him. But 
these also, through fear that he might ask a loan of 
them, soon dwindled away, and Eajasekhara's dwelling, 
that had previously been constantly thronged with 
guests and filled with uproar, was left destitute of people 
to strut and stare, and became silent as the grave. But 
it did not long remain in this condition. What magic 



* A monthly ceremony for a deceased relative, continued for a year 
after the death. 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 85 

there was in the planting of its roof-tree,* I know not; 
but after a little it again became filled from morn 
till eve with men, crowded more closely than ever, and 
once more re-echoed to the sound of many human voices. 
Formerly it had overflowed with persons who, thinking 
one thing and saying another, acted with duplicity, and 
with poor people begging food and clothing. Now it 
was packed with straightforward individuals who had no 
hesitation in speaking out fearlessly what was in their 
minds, and with persons of wealth who demanded 
authoritatively the money due them, with whicli to buy 
food and clothing. Eajasekhara's goods, too, began to 
multiply day by day in such a manner as to keep the 
house crowded ; for, although there was not so goodly 
an array of eatables as formerly at the morning meal, 
yet these were still Eajasekhara's chief care ; and in his 
nightly dreams, at least, were a thousand times more 
abundant than ever before. While he was hedged 
in by these troubles, the same learned Brahmans who, 
only a short time before, had commended him for not 
suffering Eukmini's hair to be removed, now abused him 
right and left, and attempted moreover to frighten him 
with threats of writing to their priest, Sri Sankara- 
charyaswami, and having him expelled from caste 
unless he paid their clique a gratification of one hun- 
dred rupees. Because his home, thronged with creditors, 
was like a wilderness ; because the village, filled with 
magnanimous souls who mocked at him and declared 
even his good qualities to be bad ones if he went into 
the street, was like a great sea ; and because even death 
itself seemed preferable to a continued but ignoble 
existence in a place where he had so long resided 
respectably — he determined by hook or crook to pay off 
all his debts, leave the village, and take his departure 
to another place. "Without delay he went to Eamasastri 
and raised five hundred rupees by mortgaging his house, 
entering into a bond to return the money in a year's 

* A preliminary ceremony in building a Telugu house is the setting 
up of a pole at a time favourable for the commencement of such work. 



86 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

time with interest ; or, in the event of his being unable 
to repay the money within tlie period named, to make 
over the house to Eamasastri. With four hundred 
rupees of the money thus obtained, he wiped out all his 
debts. From the very day following that on which he 
gave the loan Eamasastri kept sending messages to the 
effect that he must at once clear the house and give 
him possession. Ever since first reading the Skanda 
Purana* Eajasekhara had cherished a desire to go on 
a pilgrimage to Benares. Eejoicing that his desire was 
now, in this way, to be gratified, he determined to set 
out with his family for the purpose of bathing in the 
Ganges; and, after fixing a time for the journey under 
a certain peregrinatory sign,-|- when the influence of 
both moon and stars was favourable, he observed the 
caution, ' On the 1st and 9th, on Saturday and Monday, 
journey not to the east,' and obtained a cart with the 
intention of starting at two o'clock on the afternoon of 
Wednesday, the 13th of the light fortnight of the month 
Palgu. Their only pilgrimages up to that time had 
been from the bank of the Godaveri to the house, and 
from the house to the bank of the Godaveri ; but 
farther from home than this they had never travelled 
before. 

When Eajasekhara had brought the cart and tied it 
at the door, he charged them again and again to get all 
necessaries into it before the time fixed for the start 
went by. Manikyamba at once began bustling about, 
and packed the bandy full of lime baskets, hampers, and 
palm-leaf buckets, at the same time heaping in the 
street-door enough to fill a second cart. All the brass 
vessels and clothes-boxes which were to go in the bandy 

* The second of the eighteen principal purcam'i. 

+ Hindu astrology divides the zodiac (which corresponds exactly to 
that known by us) into three equal parts of four signs each {kandayas) 
w'th reference to their supposed influences, as Aries, Cancer, Libra, 
aiid Capricornus, the signs auspicious for movements, journeyings, etc. ; 
Leo, Taurus, Scorpio, and Aquila, those auspicious to stationary actions 
or employments ; and Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, and Pisces, the four 
auspicious to both classes. 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 87 

were as yet inside. Thereupon Rajasekliara came up, 
had the hampers and other rubbish taken out of the 
cart, and began to distribute them among the poor people, 
who, hearing they were going away, had come to see 
them off. The worthy Brahmans of the neighbourhood 
had not, up to that moment, so much as set foot out- 
side their doors ; but no sooner did they hear it reported 
that Rajasekhara was giving away his furniture than 
up they came, running with the speed of the wind. To 
those who were importuning her, Manikyamba dis- 
tributed the baskets and other articles which had been 
placed on the ground because there was no room for 
them in the bandy. The boxes and brass utensils were 
next hoisted into the cart. Articles of furniture which 
formerly could not be stowed in half-a-dozen bandies, 
were now easily packed in one — and even then left 
room enough for several persons to sit. Notwithstand- 
ing the fact that liajasekhara was in such a hurry, 
Manikyamba went off to bid good-bye to one or two 
neighbouring women who were her intimate friends, 
and dallied away not less than two whole hours. Eaja- 
sekhara, having in the meantime had the bedsteads 
tied upon the top of the cart and the children snugly 
stowed inside, now got angry. At this Manikyamba 
came and took her seat in the bandy ; and the lean 
bullocks, which had been frugally dieted on a modicum 
of dry straw, with as much water as they cared to drink, 
ever since coming into the possession of the then owner, 
began slowly to draw the cart. Directly at their heels 
walked the handyman, who, though a perfect miser as 
far as feed was concerned, began to exhibit great liber- 
ality in dealing out blows. The very poor low-caste 
people who had so often received alms from Rajasekhara 
accompanied them to the outskirts of the village, where, 
showering blessings upon the travellers, they turned 
sorrowfully back. The cartman, whether from eating 
opium, from drinking, from natural sleepy-headedness, or 
from ail these combined, staggered and reeled along the 
road until, mounting the tongue of his cart, he seated 



88 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

himself comfortably, and smoked a number of old half- 
consumed clieroots in such quick succession as to cover 
the sky with tiny clouds and supply those seated in the 
bandy with all the fragrance they could desire. Then 
he leaned back upon the boxes and dropped off to 
sleep as unconcerned as you please. The bandy barely 
seemed to creep, and in the meantime night fell. When, 
after a little, Eajasekhara peeped out, he could dis- 
cover no evidence whatever that the cart was moving. 
Then he undertook to awaken the cartman, who was 
sleeping like Kumbha-karna.* Shouts had no effect 
whatever ; and as for hitting him upon the bare feet, 
that only served to make the sleeper draw these 
appendages up, give vent to a groan, and turn over 
upon the other side. When with great difficulty they 
succeeded in rousing him, and got out to ascertain where 
they were, they discovered that the cart had left the road 
and was stuck fast in a field knee-deep in mud. All 
alighted, and by exerting their united strength suc- 
ceeded in an hour's time in lifting the cart out of the 
mire and dragging it to the road. But so far were the 
poor bullocks from being in a fit condition to draw the 
cart, that it was actually necessary for some one to assist 
them along. So, as a return for the trouble they had 
taken in pulling the bandy until night, it now, being 
dark, fell to the lot of the riders themselves to perform 
that duty. All were heartily glad that this misfortune 
had befallen them at night rather than by day, for the 
clothes of the whole party were ornamented with mud 
flowers of all sizes and designs. Fortunately for them 
there were no spectators of their plight ; had there 
been, they would have enjoyed no little sport. The 
cartman was a perfect Hercules, and with Eajasekhara's 
aid easily drew the cart. Behind came Subrahmanya 
leading the bullocks and women. Even had they gone 

* The younger brother of Ravana, the sovereign of Lanka, or 
Ceylon, who carried off the wife of Rama. He seems to have been the 
sleeping Joe of the rakshasan, slumbering for six months of the year. 
His name signifies 'the pot-eared.' 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 89 

afoot, they should have reached Eajahmundry in three 
hours ; but as it was necessary for them to drag the cart 
into the bargain, they did not reach the house of Rama- 
murti, Rajasekhara's uncle's son, until twelve o'clock 
that night. All in the house were then fast asleep, con- 
sequently there was no one to open the door imme- 
diately on the noisy arrival of the bandy. After they 
had shouted awhile at the door, however, some one who 
lay in the porch rose and opened it. As soon as 
Rajasekhara's voice v/as heard, Ramamurti came out of 
the room in which he slept, embraced his brother,* and 
explained that they had expected them long before, 
and sat up waiting for them, but when nine o'clock 
even failed to bring them, they concluded that they had 
not started that day, and had taken their evening meal 
and just gone to rest ; and what, he wanted to know, 
was the cause of their being so late ? Giving as the 
reason for their tardy arrival only the explanation that 
their clothes and legs covered with mud to the very 
knee already divulged so plainly as to preclude any 
necessity on their part for repeating it, Rajasekhara 
withheld the one fact of their having drawn the bandy 
themselves. But when he handed the cartman the cart- 
hire due him, and told him to go, the fellow replied that 
he had had a very hard time of it, and that it was diffi- 
cult to find a better pair of bullocks than his anywhere. 
In fine, after eulogizing his bullocks and himself at 
great length, he urged that he ought to receive a pre- 
sent. Rajasekhara, fearful that if allowed to talk longer 
he would divulge the fact that they had drawn the 
bandy, gave him a present in addition to his regular 
fare, and dismissed him as soon as all the things were 
out of the cart. Married women are prohibited from 
seeing others of their sex who have lost their husbands, 
immediately after dinner. Besides, that day was unlucky; 
so a widow, after first bidding all the reputablef women 

* Cousins are, among the Hindus, regarded as brothers and sisters. 
This does not, however, preclude marriage alliances between them, 
f Married women only are called by this term. It is considered by 



90 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

go into another room and close the door, brought Euk- 
mini in, and directing her into a separate apartment, 
shut the door tight. The females of the household then 
came out and conducted Manikyamba and the others to 
the west room, where, after the weeping and wailing 
over Eukmini's misfortune had ceased, they served up 
the meal that had already been prepared and kept iii 
readiness, placing some dry-boiled rice before Eajase- 
khara. By the time the meal was completed it had 
gone three o'clock, when all retired to rest, and enjoyed 
a sound sleep. 

Eajasekhara kept close indoors at Eamamurti's for 
several days. One day, however, he took the boat to 
Kovuru, and there saw the place where of old Gautama 
did penance, and the spot where fell the fictitious cow,* 
bathed at the shrine Gopada, and returned home at 
night. On another day he went to bathe at the Koti- 
linga-f- shrine, 'and there heard from a sastri the ancient 
story of Anjaneya carrying off a linga, and leaving it in 
KasiJ — through which that city became celebrated. On 

the Hindus a disreputable thing for any woman to be unmarried or a 
widow. The only unmarried women in India of marriageable age are 
courtesans and native Christian girls. 

* 'The fictitious cow.' The story is as follows: While Gautama, 
the hermit god, dwelt on the soutli bank of the Godaveri, and did 
penance at the shrine Kovuru, there came a twelve years' famine, and 
all the rishis flocked to him for refuge. Thereupon it came to pass 
that every day when he went out for his bath, etc., Gautama took a 
handful of paddy, sowed it in the sand of the Godaveri, and watered it. 
This, by the time he returned, was in full head, and ready to reap. On 
the food thus provided all the rishia subsisted. After the famine 
abated, chese worthies, on taking their departure, demanded that 
Gautama should accompany them, and, on his refusing to comply with 
their request, fabricated a cow, which daily destroyed the green crop 
in Gautama's field. One day Gautama frightened it off with his stick, 
whereupon the cow and her calf fell dead. The nshis now charged 
Gautama with cow-murder (a most heinous sin in the eyes of an 
orthodox Hindu), and condemned him to expiate his crime by perform- 
ing chandrayana — i.e., by increasing the amount of his food one 
mouthful per day during the light, and diminishing it in like manner 
during the dark, half of the month. 

t ' Linga,' a cylindrical oblong stone worshipped as the emblem 
of Siva. Kotilinga shrine means the shrine of * the ten million 
lingas.' 

X Kasi, the modern Benares. 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 91 

yet another day he visited the fort of Kajarajanarendra * 
and saw therein the spot where of old stood Chitrangi's 
castle, and that where Sarangadhara flew his doves. 
From the bystanders he heard also the story of how, of 
old, Amma Varu appeared to Kajarajanarendra and in- 
formed him that for whatever distance he might walk 
without looking back, the ground should become a fort; 
how, after walking straight forward for some distance, 
he heard a loud noise behind, and being unable longer 
to control his curiosity, looked back ; and how a fort 
nearly surrounded by a gold wall immediately arose — 
with other tales of like nature. He then set out to 
visit the place where Sarangadhara's feet and hands 
were cut off; and, arrived at the hill, saw there beneath 
a lime-tree the stone slab on which the amputation was 
performed, observed that the whole of the surrounding 
landscape was bare, and entirely destitute of even so 
much as a blade of grass, and had a look also at the lake 
near by to which the arahat carried Sarangadhara and 
bathed him in its waters. 

While in Eajahmundry Eajasekhara also made good 
use of his time in observing the habits of the people 
with a view to ascertaining whether there existed any 
diversity of manners between the townsfolk and the 
people who lived in the country. He began thus to 
acquire to a considerable degree true knowledge of the 
world. In that town they who displayed bracelets and 
rings, even though obtained by borrowing, and wore 
rich clothes, though brought on hire from the washer- 
man's, were counted worthy of the highest respect. 
They were regarded as the most learned pandits who, 
though absolutely devoid of native ability, exhibited 
fine rings in their ears and wrapped huge shawls about 
their heads. All frequented the houses of the wealthy 
and eulogized their hosts as being superlatively religious 
and pre-eminently pious, though they had never once 
seen the interior of a temple in their lives, nor so much 
as breathed the Creator's name in tlieir dreams. 

* Rajarajanarenda, an ancient king ; Chitrangi, his wife ; Saran- 
gadhara, his son. Amuia Varu, the maha .tckti, or Power of Evil. 



92 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

As for genuine scholars and poets, their mouths and 
stomachs were always surfeited with slokas and verses ; 
but, since their possessors were unable to make any 
external show, were seldom or never filled with food. 
No matter though they thrust themselves into a dozen 
rope-dancers' houses in a day, those who went about in 
scant breech-clothes, and with juttus knotted at the end 
as though they had bathed and performed their daily 
devotions, were eulogized for respectable men. In a 
word, though in secret a man committed a lac of evil 
deeds, granted only that he was irreproachable in the 
one point of external hypocrisy — those who were fully 
cognizant of the baseness of his conduct treated him, 
even in company, with greater politeness than they 
showed those who were of spotless reputation. How 
abominable soever their conduct was as regards right- 
eousness, in the one matter of creed at least they were 
outwardly most pious. Individuals who were unable to 
build even so much as a wretched hut for a bosom friend 
who was suffering for want of standing shelter, expended 
thousands in the construction of temples for the use of 
stone images. Eajasekhara counted no less than one 
hundred and twenty-three temples which had fallen 
into ruins because deprived of incomes by the death of 
the builders ; and then surmised that probably as many 
as ten million lingas into the bargain lay buried in the 
debris of temples which at some time in the past had 
crumbled to dust in this way. Except harlots, not a 
woman in the place could read a word. The education 
such women obtained served only to increase adultery, 
entangle men in their net, and bring ruin upon the town ; 
but assisted not a whit the increase of learning, or cor- 
rection of immorality. 

Eajasekhara had proposed remaining there until the 
7th, and then starting for Benares ; but Eamamurti 
importuned him so strongly to tarry until the New Year 
that he could not refuse. In the month Palgu, on the 
day of new moon, there occurred a total eclipse of the 
sun. At the moment of seizure all the people bathed 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 93 

in the Godaveri, and poured out libations* to their 
ancestors. Some, for merit, offered prayers to the nine 
planets, and made gifts of the nine kinds of grainf to 
Brahmans. A number of ritualists and old women began 
to wail with tears that it was all over with the sun. 
Those who considered themselves the wisest of this lot 
repeated mantras to drive away the demon that had 
seized upon the sun. Others, wiser even than these, 
knowing that it was a sin to have undigested food in 
the stomach at the time of an eclipse, fasted for at least 
nine hours before that event. All put da7^bha-gTass in 
such dishes as contained food. The older ones, thinking 
that if pregnant women appeared out of doors on such 
an occasion they would give birth to deformed children, 
locked such females up in a room and bade them not 
stir hand or foot. Others again, obtaining possession of 
mantras by feeing those who called themselves mantri- 
cians, were repeating their orisons in water breast-deep 
in order the more easily to succeed in their object. Some 
simpletons who supposed herbs to possess peculiar effi- 
cacy at the time of an eclipse, were waving lamps and 
incense to the trees, and pulling roots, stark naked, and 
with juttus flowing. Holy Brahmans, asserting that 
charity performed at such a time was specially meri- 
torious, stood in the stream knee-deep with cloths tied 
up so as not to get them wet, and bestowed water- alms 
upon fools and women. 

Rajasekhara also bathed in accordance with the an- 
cient custom ; but he considered all who performed 
such acts as the above mere fools, and entered into a 
discussion with the pandits of the place on the subject 
of eclipses. While he held to his belief in the Jyoti- 
sastra.l lie discredited the puranas only when these 

* Of water jwured from the hand. 

f The nine kinds of grain proper to be presented with burnt offerings, 
oblations, etc., and to the gods and nine planets, one to each: (1) 
wheat, to the sun ; (2) paddy, to the moon ; (3) a kind of lentil, to 
Mars ; (4) pulse, to Mercury ; (5) Bengal gram, to Jupiter ; (6) beans, 
to Venus; (7) sesamum, to Saturn ; (8) a kind of pulse — Phaseolus 
mungo — to Rahu ; (9) gram, to Ketu. 

+ The Hindu astronomy, the two principal treatises of which are 
named below. 



94 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

were directly antagonistic to it. Quoting that sloka 
from the Sidhauta-Siromani, which says, ' The moon, 
Tnoving like a cloud in a loiver sphere, overtakes the 
sun (by reason of its quicker motion), and obscures its 
shining disc by its own dark body ;' and that from the 
Surya-Sidhanta, which says, ' The moon being like a 
cloud in a lower sphere covers the sun (in a solar 
eclipse) ; but in a lunar one the moon, moving east- 
tuard, enters the earth's shadoiv, and (therefore) the 
shadow obscures her disc,'* — he argued at great length 
that when the sun is above the earth, granted the 
moon, owing to its higher rate of speed, to come be- 
tween in a line with these two bodies, an eclipse of the 
sun must occur, and that this phenomenon is not caused 
by Eahu -f- swallowing it ; that if what the 2>ura7iists 
asserted were the cause of eclipses, we should be 
powerless to ascertain the intentions of Eahu and Ketu, 
and so could not foretell the time of an eclipse ; that 
there would then be no reason in solar eclipses occur- 
ring at the time of new, and lunar eclipses at that of 
full moon only ; that everyone knew that Eahu and 
Ketu had never appeared in the heavens ; and, were 
they really of such size as to admit of their swallowing 
the sun and moon, how was it they never showed them- 
selves at the time of an eclipse ? and even granting 
that Eahu swallowed the sun or moon, there was no 
satisfactory reason for an eclipse being visible in one 
country and not in another, as the panchanga showed 
was the case. 'No suitable answer to these arguments 
suggested itself to any of the pandits present ; never- 
theless, they shouted tremendously. As for the spec- 
tators, they understood not a word of the discussion, 

"' Translation of Asiatic Society of Bengal from the Sanskrit. 

f Rahn, the moon's ascending node, regarded by the Hindus as one 
of the nine planets, in the form of a monstrovis serpent or dragon. 
Ketu, the moon's descending node, or cauda draconis, the red serpent 
into which the trunk of Asura Sainhikeya, severed from the head 
(Rahu, caput dracoJiis, as above) at the churning of the sea of milk, 
was changed, and which, with liahu, is said to swallow the sun and 
moon for betraying them. 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 95 

and, in consequence, applauded as best men those who 
bore the title sastri, because they brayed the loudest, 
and sneered at Eajasekhara's arguments as Buddhistical. 
Than the pleasure necessarily consequent on jeering at 
another, they possessed no higher enjoyment ; so the 
choicest of this lot of ignoramuses, who knew not even 
so much as the smell of learning, made all sorts of sport 
of Eajasekhara, and enjoyed to the utmost all the 
amusement they could derive from the occasion. 

In the meantime the termination of the eclipse ap- 
proached, and all rushed to take the release-bath. The 
females, after bathing, had gone on ahead and done the 
cooking ; so, when all danger to the sun was quite past, 
the others followed suit, and ate their first meal that 
day by lamp-light. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

The New Year — Rajasekhara's Journey — A Rajah is Sunstruck in the 
Vicinity of Rajanagara — They meet a Yof/i near the Black Lake — 
And are attacked by Highwaymen — Rukmini's Death. 

After daylight on New Year's day * Eamamurti called 
a barber and had him anoint Eajasekhara and Subrah- 
manya. The anointing and bathing of the male mem- 
bers of the household at an end, all the females followed 
suit. Then all, in accordance with the national custom, 
partook of margosa flowers and bits of green mango 
with sauce of fresh tamarinds, dined at mid-day on 
pastries, and observed the day as a feast-day. Instead of 
getting all the enjoyment possible out of a holiday, as they 
should do, the people of this country dine at a late 
hour, and harass their bodies more severely than at 
other times. After the mid-day heat had somewhat 
abated Eamamurti took Eajasekhara along and proceeded 
to the temple of Venugopalaswami to hear the new 
■panchanga read. Already the astrologer had placed 
before him in a platter some unbroken rice coloured 

* In the month Chetra, April — May. 



96 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

with saffron, and, as they entered, was reading the 
sloha : ' Worthy of audience is the estimable panchanga, 
the hestower of universal Messing on mortals, the de- 
stroyer of enemies, the deliverer from the guilt of evil 
dreams, the conferrer of benefit equal to that accru- 
ing from a bath in Oanga or the gift of a cow, the j)^'0- 
longer of life, the most excellent, the most pure, the giver 
of offspring and joy and luealth, the most potent factor 
in the performance of any deed.' He expatiated on the 
perfection of the Samhranti personage,* announced the 
outcome of the year, foretold the increase or decrease of 
paddy and other crops, of scorpions and other venomous 
reptiles ; and when the people did not know their 
natal, ascertained their nominal stars, and revealed to 
them the numbers of their kandayas f and their gains 
and losses for the coming year. The ryots and others 
present took wise precautions against the presence of 
cyphers in their kandayas by slipping something into 
the astrologer's hand. 

' Astrologer,' said Eamamurti after the reading of 
the panchanga, 'how many years have elapsed from the 
commencement of the Kaliyuga J to the present time V 

'It is now,' replied the astrologer '4719 years since 
the commencement of the Kaliyuga, 1541 from that of 
the Salivahana era, and 1676 of the Vikramarkian.' § 

'From the signs of the times,' asked Eamamurti, 
' can you tell how much longer our country is to con- 
tinue under the dominion of barbarians V 

* i.e., the Sun. 

t The year is divided into three astrological periods of four months 
each, called kandayafi. Each month of each kandaya is associated 
with one of the twenty-seven lunar mansions, and is productive of gain 
or loss according as the influence of the asterism is good or evil. The 
months and asterisms corresponding to them are represented by 
numbers determined by means of the panchanga. Even numbers 
denote full, odd numbers half, profits ; cyphers denote loss. 

;j; Hindu chronology divides all time into four ages or ytiffas — the 
Krita, Treta, Dvapara, and Kali. These comprise 1,728,000, 1,'296,000, 
864,000, and 432,000 years respectively, and corre.spond to the golden, 
silver, brazen, and iron ages. Brown defines the Kaliyuga as ' modern 
times beginning from the deluge. ' 

§ 1618-19 A.D., the date of our story. 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 97 

' The rule of the Mohammedans will be supreme in the 
land for five hundred years,' replied the astrologer ; ' then 
there will arise a ruler of the lineage of Pusapati with 
a tail the size of a margosa berry.* He will conquer 
the whole earth from Eamnad to the Himalayas.' 

It being now evening, they tied up the panchanga 
and proceeded to their homes. 

Eajasekhara had decided to set out on his pilgrimage 
to Kasi on the 2nd ; and, in spite of the repeated re- 
monstrances of the whole household, had in Piduparti 
Eamasastri, the astrologer who had read the panchanga 
in the temple, to fix a time for the journey. After a 
careful scrutiny of the date and diurnal stars, he decided 
that nine seconds past eight o'clock that very night 
was a favourable time at which to set out on the pil- 
grimage. Thinking the hour an undesirable one for 
commencing a journey with one's family, Eajasekhara 
placed a cloth, in which was wrapped a book, in a 
neighbouring house, postponed their exodus, and deter- 
mined to start as soon as it was day. Seeing Eamamurti 
about to send a message for a bandy, he declared that 
that would never do ; for, should they go by bandy, no 
merit would accrue from the pilgrimage. He thereupon 
declared his purpose to go afoot. That night Eama- 
murti presented them all with new cloths ; and, rising 
just at break of day, ere the others were astir, held him- 
self in readiness against the time of their setting out. 
Charging him to keep them safely until their return, 
Eajasekhara handed over to him the utensils, bedsteads, 
and clothes-boxes which he had brought from Dhava- 
lesvaram, retaining only such articles as they would have 
special need of on the way. When Manikyamba and 
the others were about to depart, Eamamurti's wife 
accompanied them as far as the street, where, recollect- 
ing that they were undertaking a journey to a far 
country, she began to weep. After taking leave of all 
at the door they waited for a single Brahman who was 
coming up the street to pass, and, perceiving a married 

* The family title and tradition of the Maharajahs of Yizianagram. 

7 



98 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

woman approaching just beyond, took the road on the 
strength of this good omen,* and began their long 
walk. Eamamurti saw them to the outskirts of the 
village, where, after cautioning them that they were 
going a long journey and must proceed cannily, he 
turned back and went home. Eajasekhara, pointing 
out to his wife and children the trees and other objects 
of interest by the roadside, went his way with a light 
heart. 

' Do you see,' said he, ' how yon ma7-?*i-tree is covered 
with buds from top to bottom, and how charming it 
looks with its clusters of coral-red berries V 

'Yes, yes,' replied Subrahmanya, 'but the young 
mango just at its foot is more wonderful in its mauve 
silk dress of newly-expanded leaves. And see ! on the 
tip-top branch sits a black cuckoo, ravishing the ear 
with its melodious note !' 

' Papa,' cried Eukmiui, ' do look how that beautiful 
parrot is swinging head downwards from a branch and 
pecking a green guava to bits with its beak.' 

* Oh, brother, won't you get that green mango for 
me V chimed in Sita. 

' There are half-ripe ones under the tree that the 
parrots have knocked ofif; take one of them, dear.^ 

Away danced Sita and brought four or five of the 
unripe mangoes, which, on biting and trying, she de- 
clared — cracking her armpits by way of emphasis — were 
as sweet as sugar. 

' I just had a whiff of jasmine blossoms from some- 
where,' said Manikyamba. 

At that moment Subrahmanya shouted, ' Oh, mother, 
come quick ! Look, there is a wild jasmine growing on 
that pogada-tree. It's covered with basketfuls of 
white blossoms ! Water it as often as we like, the 
jasmine we have at home never blooms like this.' 

* Some auguries favourable to a journey are : music of kettledrum 
or conch, good wishes, ripe and green fruit, flowers, a married woman, 
a dancing woman, a virgin, white boiled rice, an elephant, a bull, milk, 
curds, fish, a toddy kavadi, saffron. 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 99 

* And how sweet the scent of the pogada blossoms is, 
too,' said Manikyamba. 

' And though the sun is now five hours high,' ob- 
served Subrahmanya, ' how cool the wind blows ! Do 
we ever have the wind so cool as this at home in 
summer V 

' How incapable we are/ moralized Eajasekhara, ' of 
appreciating and adoring the greatness of God, who, 
with unmerited kindness, has created such beautiful 
things to afford delight to every sense, and bestowed 
them for the free enjoyment and happiness of travellers ! 
When we constantly remained close at home, we knew 
nothing whatever of such delights as these ; and yet we 
piqued ourselves on being happier than all the rest of 
the world. How fortunate are the uncivilized wan- 
derers of the wilderness who, living their whole lives 
amid such scenes, enjoy pleasures which have as their 
source the goodness of that Great Spirit who is kinsman 
to the lowly ! Ah, truly we never found the summer so 
agreeable as this in town !' 

' Mamma,' interrupted Sita, * I can't walk any 
farther. Take me up.' 

* Come on as far as those trees — I'll take you up 
then. Eukmini, why are you falling behind ? Walk a 
little faster,' cried Manikyamba. 

* I'm not accustomed to it, and my feet are blistered. 
I'm not able to walk a step faster,' replied she. 

' I asked a herdsman, and he said it was but a couple 
of miles to the next village. It is now nearly mid-day. 
You must do your best to walk a little faster somehow 
or other,' said Eajasekhara. 

* I'm carrying Sita,' replied Manikyamba ; ' she's 
crying of hunger. At a little distance there on the 
right-hand side I hear a sound like men's voices. Per- 
haps it's a village. Shall we stop there till afternoon V 

' There are some men running in a great hurry,' 
replied Eajasekhara ; * maybe some accident has hap- 
pened to one of their number. Come, let us go faster.' 

They increased their pace and soon neared the spot 

7-2 



lOO FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

from which the shouts proceeded. All at once several 
persons burst out of a close-packed crowd of men at a 
little distance to the south of the highway, and came 
running towards them shouting, ' Some buttermilk to 
purify it !' Eajasekhara stopped and asked them what 
the noise was about. One of the number, a shepherd, 
replied that ' A Eajah had fainted under a raw-tree 
from sunstroke.' 

' Couldn't you pour a little water down his throat V 
asked Eajasekhara. 

' At first we were agoing to give him water ; but we're 
Sudras, and so the Eajah refused it because he said he 
wouldn't take water from us to drink. But he wasn't 
able to stand the terrible thirst, and soon consented to 
drink the water. But just then the leader of our crowd 
came up, and said that if we poured water into the 
mouth of a Eajah 'twould be committing a sin, and sent 
us to bring some buttermilk to purify the water. Our 
village is about half a mile from here. You look like 
Brahmans ; if you have any good water by you, go quick 
and pour a few drops down his throat and get the merit 
yourselves.' 

As soon as Eajasekhara heard these words he seized 
the vessel of drinking-water which Eukmini had in 
her hand, and running to the tree made his way into 
the midst of the group. Here he found a man lying 
upon the bare ground in the shade of the tree, pointing 
to his mouth and making signs for water with his hand. 
* The Eajah's dying from sheer obstinacy. I don't care 
what harm it does, I'll give him some water and save 
his life,' one of the crowd was saying as he drew near 
with a wooden drinking-cup in his hand. But an old 
man interposed : * We're now living the life of Sudras 
for the very reason that heretofore in a former birth we 
committed, it's hard to say how many, sins of this sort ; 
and must you commit the additional sin of making this 
Eajah here an outcast ? Take my advice and don't give 
him the water,' remonstrated he, seizing upon and stay- 
ing the other's hand. By this time the Eajah's eyes were 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL, loi 

rolling wildly, and with an attempt to raise his hand to 
his mouth he fell prostrate in a convulsion. Rajasekhara 
at once went to him and first moistened his parched lips 
with the water, and then poured a small quantity into 
his mouth, which after a few moments the sufferer began 
to swallow feebly. Eajasekhara then took some water 
in his hand and dashed it in his face ; and, after swallow- 
ing a little more, the prostrate man opened his eyes and 
looked around, and turned over on his other side. After 
lying in this position for a short time he sat up much 
revived, and lavished many namaskaras* of deep grati- 
tude upon Rajasekhara for saving his life. The men 
who had run to the village now returned with some 
fruit and buttermilk, which they gave him. After dis- 
posing of the fruit and taking a drinkf he felt better, 
and all the bystanders took their departure. In the 
meantime Manikyamba and her companions had been 
sitting in the shade of a tree alleviating in some degree 
the weariness resulting from their long walk. Eajase- 
khara was very much exhausted, but hearing there 
was not a single village in the vicinity, he determined 
to get to Rajanagara somehow or other that day, and 
directing all the members of his family to rise, he again 
took the road, conversing with the Rajah. 

' Rajah, what is your name ? Where is your place 
of residence ? And how did you come here alone V 

• My name,' replied his companion, * is Ramarajah ; 
our place of residence is Kattamuru in the vicinity of 
Peddapuram. We have four yoke J of land under culti- 
vation there. I went some ten days ago to see our 
relatives, who live in Rajahmundry, and yesterday at 
daybreak set out on my return ; but as I was coming 
along an enormous tiger suddenly confronted me in the 
road. Wrapping my thick mantle about my left arm as 

* An obeisance made by bowing to the earth with joined hands. 

f Caste rules forbid a high-caste man taking water from the hands 
of a low-caste man. But he may take fruit and buttermilk without 
committing a misdemeanour. 

:«: A bovate or yoke of land is that quantity of land which may be 
worked with a single yoke of oxen or bullocks. 



I02 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

quickly as I could, I thrust it into the tiger's mouth and 
stabbed the brute with the knife in my right hand. 
The tiger was of immense strength, so without paying 
the least attention to my thrust, he dragged me a 
long distance into the jungle, flooding his whole path 
with streams of blood. In the meantime I hadn't been 
idle, but continued to stab him again and again with my 
knife, until the beast, unable to walk farther, fell to the 
ground beneath a tree. I dropped the knife from my 
right hand, and at last succeeded in forcing open its 
jaws and freeing my left arm. Just then a royal tiger, 
more powerful than the first one, leapt upon me from a 
thicket close at hand. By the blessing of God, how- 
ever, it missed its aim a little and tumbled into a small 
pit at my side. As there was no time to secure my 
knife, I at once crawled up the tree, and by the time the 
tiger was ready for another spring, reached the top 
branch, where I perched. That tiger, do you know, 
never budged an inch, but took his seat and sat 
down directly beneath the tree. There he stayed 
until full ten o'clock this morning, when he at 
last got tired and moved off. I had been on 
the branch of that tree from early morning yesterday 
without sleep or food ; so the moment the tiger was 
gone I crept softly down, secured my knife, and set out 
with it in my hand. All day yesterday I suffered ter- 
rible torture from the sun. My tongue clung to my 
mouth, and my legs lost all power of motion. But in 
some way I managed to drag my body along to this 
tree, where I fell. See, I have two wounds on my arm 
alone,' said he, baring that member. Then he drew 
forth from a sheath resembling a walking staff a knife, 
which he exhibited. This Eajasekhara took and ex- 
amined with many exclamations of astonishment at the 
daring deed he had performed. 

' You have to-day/ proceeded Eamarajah, ' restored to 
me the life I lost. Though I should lay down that life 
for you, it would not free me from the obligation I am 
under to you for the service you have rendered me. 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 103 

Please be so good as to receive my naniaskaras as 
an expression of my heartfelt thankfulness. How 
deeply I regret that while Fortune enables others to 
show their gratitude in gifts of money and by like acts, 
she forces me, who am at present poor, to express mine 
by mere empty words — and that, too, to so great a 
benefactor as yourself ! But should you ever stand in 
need of any kindness that lies in my power to show, I 
am ready to do it — and that, too, without regard even 
for my life. Where do you go now ?' 
' We are off on a pilgi-image to Kasi.' 

* This hot season is not at all a good time for so long 
a journey. You will certainly be sunstruck by the way 
in this heat. Besides, the whole road is infested with 
robbers. Have you any relatives in Eajahmundry ? Or 
perhaps that is where you live V 

' Do you know Koteti Eamamurti? He is my uncle's 
son — it was after a fifteen days' stay at his house that I 
set out. Our native place is Dhavalesvaram.' 

' What is your name, and what are all these to you ?' 

* My name is Eajasekhara ; he is my son ; these two 
girls are my daughters, while she is my wife.' 

' What's your reason for starting on a pilgrimage in 
such hot weather as this ? From your manner T should 
take you to be people who have enjoyed considerable 
prosperity.' 

' I was once a wealthy man, it is true ; but I squan- 
dered all the wealth I possessed in gratuities at my 
daughter's wedding, and in gifts to knaves who plied 
their flatteries to my face — became thus reduced to 
poverty, and at length set out on tliis pilgrimage. I 
always swallowed their flatteries and was satisfied ; they 
swallowed my money and were more than satisfied. At 
last a byragi, on the pretence of converting it into gold, 
absconded with all my gold and silver — leaving me 
only so much ashes — and made me a beggar in very 
truth.' 

* You are not people who were ever in the habit of 
making journeys to distant countries before. Take my 



104 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

advice and tarry in Bhimavaram, at least until summer 
is over. That is a great and justly celebrated shrine. 
Near the Bhima river stands the temple of Bhimesvara- 
swami. The town is only two miles distant from 
Peddapuram. Krishna Gajapati Maharajah, who rules 
Peddapuram, is immensely rich ; he goes about incognito 
devising means for bettering the condition of his people. 
A relative of ours has a capital situation with him. 
Were you in Bhimavaram, I'd speak a word to him and 
get you a situation when a chance offered.' 

Eajasekhara was a good fellow ; so he said for the 
present that he would consider the matter after reaching 
Peddapuram. But in view of his would-be benefactor's 
then condition he did not entertain the least hope that 
he could secure him a position. By the time this con- 
versation came to an end, they were near the village. 

' How far is the village from those trees ?' asked 
Rajasekhara. 

' We are quite near the village. Those trees are on 
the bank of the tank. The choultry is directly opposite 
the tank.' 

' Won't you take dinner with us to-day ?' 

' I have relatives in the village ; I shall go there for 
my meal, and come slowly on in the cool of the evening. 
You have women along; so you had better be off just 
as soon as you've had dinner, and pass Vedimangala 
before the day closes. That's a great place for high- 
waymen. Try hard to get to Peddapuram somehow 
before it gets dark, and stay there a day. I'm quite 
used up, and for that reason can't come with you now ; 
but I'll catch you up to-morrow;' and with that 
Eamarajah saluted Rajasekhara, and taking leave of all, 
and charging them to be careful in the road, wenthis way. 

After cooking and eating their meal they set out once 
more, and with bodies completely drenched with sweat, 
drinking water by the pint at every few paces, and rest- 
ing now and then in the shade of the trees, they dragged 
along as though every step were an amada,* and at 

* An amada equals eight miles. 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. loj 

length, while there was still three hours' daylight, arrived 
at the Black Lake. Here, at the roots of ajuvvi-tree 
growing just below the bund of the tank, stood a booth 
of palmira leaves, and in it sat a yogi — his whole body 
smeared over with sacred ashes, and rudralcsha rosaries 
about his neck, head, and arms — who with his hand 
signalled them to approach, and bade them be seated on 
a mat near by. Twirling in his right hand a rosary of 
tulasi beads, he began mumbling his mantras and asking 
occasional questions between whiles. 

' Travellers, you are very warm and exhausted with 
your hard journey. Tarry here a little and rest. It 
seems you have your family along. Where do you go V 

' We are going on a pilgrimage to Kasi,' replied E,aja- 
sekhara. 

' Pilgrimage to so distant a country is impracticable 
except for the wealthy. There are no choultries on 
the way. Did you not lay by any money against your 
start V 

* Where should such poor people as we get much 
money ? We have, however, brought a hundred rupees 
in cash. We propose to manage the pilgrimage to Kasi 
and return on that amount in some way.' 

' You must exercise great caution. At a distance of 
four miles from here, near Vedimangala, robbers attack 
wayfarers. If you will but wait a little, I'll send along 
some of my disciples as company for you,' said the 
yogi, again beginning to tell his beads and mumble his 
orisons. 

As, however, his disciples were very slow in coming, 
Rajasekhara became disturbed in mind. The day also 
was fast declining. 

' Swami,' ventured he, ' your people haven't arrived 
yet. It wants but two hours of sundown. Will you 
send a messenger quickly V 

' Certainly I will,' replied the yogi; and rising briskly 
he went to a hut which stood at a distance of a hundred 
yards from the juvvi-tree and called out, ' Gopaliga !' 
From within there crept a hillsman wrapped in a ragged 



io6 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

cloth. He was the possessor of a pug nose, high fore- 
head, bushy head, and irregular teeth, united to a body 
as black as coal. The yogi conversed with him for a 
moment on some subject, and brought him over to the 
booth, where, in the hearing of Eajasekhara, he sent him 
off with the order, ' Call our men to accompany these 
people in case they should need assistance.' 

' Swami,' said Eajasekhara, ' it's hard to say Avhen 
your disciples will come. We must pass Vedimangala 
before night falls. Shall we go on V 

'Ah, what you say is very true. Do you walk 
along ; they'll come and join you at once.' 

Eajasekhara delayed no longer, but started with his 
wife and children. Often he felt the bundle upon his 
shoulder, and his heart went pit-a-pat whenever the 
thought of robbers came into his head. If a cricket 
but chirped he looked back, and started in terror at 
the slightest movement of the bushes at the roadside. 

The hillsman who had been despatched by the yogi 
quickly outwalked them, and, taking a copious drink of 
toddy somewhere on the road, reached the rendezvous 
by dint of much staggering and stumbling and rolling 
of eyes that were like live coals. ' Hallo you !' cried he, 
striking with his hand a man who lay asleep in a hovel 
there, and arousing him ; ' a Brahman, his wife, son, and 
two daughters are coming with a hundred rupees, and 
our chief says you're to go as quick as you can to the 
ant tamarind-tree.' This message delivered, he went 
away. On hearing these words the other spent a 
moment in cogitation, and then rose right gladly. Being 
well acquainted with the paths and rendezvous, he 
took his knife in his hand and left the hut without a 
word. The hillsman made a cross cut, spoke a word 
with another man whom he met in the way, and again 
joined the yogi. At his order he slung a bow and 
arrows over his shoulder, and set out on a run to de- 
flect the wayfarers from the road, and guide them to the 
vicinity of the ant tamarind-tree. When he joined 
them it was just dusk. 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 107 

' As the other disciples didn't come, the yogi sent 
me, sir, for your protection,' said he, addressing Eajase- 
khara. ' I've caught up with you just in the nick of 
time. We're near the spot where the highwaymen 
usually make their attack ; but you needn't be at all 
afraid. We'll just leave this road and take a footpath ; 
then when we've passed the place where there's the 
most danger, we'll get into the highway again. 

'Yours is the responsibility of getting us safely 
through in some way. We'll come whatever way you 
bid us.' 

Turning aside from the main road, the hillsman con- 
ducted them along a narrow path. The sky had now 
become overcast, and they were soon wrapped in such 
dense darkness that they could not see the road. The 
chirping of the birds upon the trees had ceased ; 
nothing was on the wing but a few owls and other 
night birds in quest of prey. The grave-cricket sent up 
its creaking note on every hand. The roaring of wild 
beasts and the hissing of serpents fell with terrible dis- 
tinctness on their ears. Now and then lightning 
gleamed spasmodically from the clouds and illumined 
the path for a moment. After they had walked a short 
distance in this manner, a light appeared in the dis- 
tance, which, as they gradually approached it, shaped 
itself into a huge fire beneath an immense tamarind- 
tree. While walking thus in the darkness Eajase- 
khara's life was not in his body, while the others 
dragged their limbs along with their lives in their 
hands. All resolved that should they escape from the 
dangers of that night and reach even the meanest 
village alive, they would never again travel afoot. 
Manikyamba vowed a sacrifice of a male buffalo to the 
local goddess on reaching the village. They proceeded 
thus with faltering steps until they reached a clearing, 
when two figures i*ose from before the fire where they 
were seated and came towards them. Their bodies 
were closely wrapped in blankets ; cheroots were stuck 
in their mouths ; and on the shoulder of each rested a 



Io8 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

huge club. No sooner did they see these apparitions 
than the travellers became rooted to the spot in help- 
less terror. The hillsman, who was in the rear, shouted 
' Robbers !' and, the last of the group, was the first to 
beat a retreat. One of the highwaymen now strode 
forward, lifted his club in both hands, and without a 
word brought it down with all his might upon the head 
of Eukmini, who happened to be in front. Beneath 
this blow she fell to the earth insensible, like a plantain- 
tree lopped off at the roots. At that moment some one 
drew his sword with a cry of ' Back ! back !' and falling 
upon the scoundrels like lightning smote one of them 
on the skull. At the stroke the head flew off like a 
melon and rolled to a distance, while the decapitated 
trunk sank upon the earth with arms and legs threshing 
convulsively, the blood spouting in streams as though 
ejected from a squirt-gun. Seeing his opponent armed, 
himself alone, and two other males among the travellers, 
the second highwayman bolted with the hillsman as 
fast as his legs could carry him. The brave fellow fol- 
lowed them a short distance, sword in hand ; but as 
they had passed out of sight in an instant, he soon 
returned and rejoined Rajasekhara. 

' Rajasekhara ! How many times did I not tell you 
at noon that you must pass this spot while it was 
still light ? You brought this danger on yourselves by 
disregarding my advice.' 

' Oh, ho ! Is it Ramarajah ? You came to our assist- 
ance and saved our lives like a patron saint. Had you 
delayed another instant we should all have been in the 
power of those villains. But how did you manage to 
get here at this time of night ?' 

* The hillsman who came with you was sent by the 
yogi to summon the gang. Unable to walk in the sun 
I was lying down in a hut, when he, mistaking me for 
one of their number, said that their chief had ordered 
rae to be off to this tamarind-tree to plunder some 
Brahmans. When I heard that I guessed those Brah- 
mans to be no other than you. I didn't let the grass 




' The Jdlkman nhouted " Bobbers," and beat a retreat ' (p. 108), 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. Ill 

grow under my feet then, but hurried to the place 
where the yogi stays, with the intention of heading off 
the robbers. There I learned that the scoundrels had 
already come and talked with the yogi and gone away. 
My heart was in my mouth lest any danger should 
befall you ere I could arrive, so without any thought of 
weariness I came on at a run and managed to join you 
just at the right moment — and right glad I am that my 
life has at last proved good for something.' 

While Ramarajah was talking, Manikyamba had felt 
Eukmini over from head to foot and now began to wail 
vociferously. Both Eamarajah and Eajasekhara now 
approached and examined the insensible girl's heart 
and put their fingers to her nostrils ; but, unable to 
discover any traces of respiration, they came to the 
sorrowful conclusion that she had died from the effects 
of the blow and from fright. Ramarajah also felt her 
pulse and ascertained for certain that she had expired. 
Then they all gathered about the corpse and wailed. 
Just at that moment the roar of a tiger was heard 
close at hand. While all, even in the midst of their 
great affliction, were trembling at the sound, Ramarajah 
cheered them with words of encouragement and at- 
tempted to persuade them that it was unsafe to remain 
there in the very heart of a jungle infested with wild 
beasts, and hinted that they could return after daylight 
and perform the burning of the corpse and other cere- 
monies. But they, unwilling to abandon their darling 
in the dense jungle, paid no attention to his words, but 
wept at the recollection of Rukmini's lovable qualities. 
Just then the tiger gave a nearer and more frightful 
roar. At this all their courage melted away like dew 
before the rays of the sun. Then, in accordance with 
Ramarajah's sensible admonition, they reluctantly left 
Rukmini — how hard it was ! — and, looking back every 
few steps, at length followed their guide aimlessly to Ped- 
dapuram. How natural for mortals, when their own lives 
are in jeopardy, to forget the peril of those they love more 
than life itself, in order to escape from personal danger 1 



112 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 



CHAPTEK IX. 

Kajasekhara reaches Peddapuram — His Grief at the Loss of Riikmini's 
Body — Occurrences in Peddapuram — He proceeds to Bhimavaram — 
Events there — He sends Subrahmanya to Pitapuram. 

The same night Eamarajah, having slowly conducted 
Eajasekhara and his family to Peddapuram, set them 
down at the choultry near the Tirupati Eajah's tank, 
and went his way, after prevailing upon them by dint 
of much persuasion to consent to abandon the Kasi 
pilgrimage and stop in Bhimavaram. On considering 
the events of but a single night's journey — the loss of 
their daughter, they, though escaped with their lives, 
with swollen feet and in such wretched plight as to be 
unable to put one foot before the other — Eajasekhara 
trembled at the very name of pilgrimage, and decided 
upon spending a few days in Bhimavaram and seeing 
the Eajah when opportunity offered. Through grief at 
the loss of Eukmini and fatigue consequent on travel, 
they cooked and ate nothing that night. Sleep visited 
the eyes of none of their number. After dragging out 
the night as though it were an age, Eajasekhara rose 
with the crowing of the cock, and set out alone down 
the Vedimangala road to look for Eukmini^s body. 
After proceeding for quite a distance he inquired the 
way of a shepherd boy, and, entering the jungle, at 
length reached the spot where the robbers had attacked 
them, by the time the sun was two hours high. No 
trace, however, of Eukmini's body could he find there, 
except a few drops of blood on the sand. Wild with 
grief, he sought her again and again in every direction, 
and finding no vestige of her anywhere, returned as 
often to the place from which he had started. After 
sitting here for a while upon the green sward and 
watering the grass with his tears, he arrived at the con- 
elusion that some wild beast had made away with the 
body of his child. Perplexity as to how he was to 
carry home these sad tidings and make them known to 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. II3 

his wife and children, augmented his grief. Slowly 
rising, he left the place with faltering footsteps, weeping 
all the way and recalling Eukmini's virtues. By mid- 
day he succeeded in dragging his body to the house, 
where he sank exhausted on the doormat. He at- 
tempted to speak, but the words refused to come ; and 
moistening his parched lips with his tongue he re- 
mained silent. Manikyamba flew into the house and 
brought a cheinbu of cold water, which she put to his 
lips, wiping away the sweat from his face with the end 
of her cloth, and fanning him gently. After she had 
thus alleviated somewhat her husband's extreme ex- 
haustion, he felt relieved, and told them in few and 
faltering words, and with copious tears and many efforts 
to swallow his grief, the sad news of Eukmini's disap- 
pearance. Immediately the whole family fell to wail- 
ing most obstreperously. The choultry Brahman and 
the bystanders heard the noise and ran in to ascertain 
what the matter was ; and on learning the calamity 
that had befallen them, offered many consolations and 
carried them off to dinner. They seated themselves by 
the leafen plates, but the grains of rice which they 
attempted to swallow refused to go down ; and after 
remaining seated a moment they left the meal and 
retired sorrowful. Just as they were washing their 
hands in the well inclosure, the cries of men running 
up the street fell upon their ears. On going into the 
street to see what the uproar meant, they saw at some 
distance to the east a huge blaze and clouds of smoke 
shooting up into the sky. At that moment the choultry 
Brahman came up and said the potters' street was on 
fire, and called to Eajasekhara to come and see the fun. 
Though a kind-hearted man enough, Eajasekhara was 
just then overwhelmed by a mountain of sorrow, and 
feeling indisposed to leave the house he made no reply. 
Subrahmanya, on the other hand, was a mere lad who 
had never before known what it was to suffer affliction; 
so no sooner did he hear that others were in distress 
than he straightway forgot his own sorrow and started 



114 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

off after the Brahman with the intention of rendering 
any assistance that lay in his power. By the time they 
reached the spot the populace had gathered in thou- 
sands and were watching the sight ; but not a single 
person was attempting to extinguish the fire. The 
bamboo poles upon the houses cracked at the joints and 
exploded with a report like that of artillery. Dry 
palmira leaves rose upon the breeze like sky-rockets. 
The tank in the vicinity had gone dry from the heat of 
the sun, and, this being empty, the water in such wells 
as still held out had retreated to the nether world and 
afforded no facilities even for dipping it up with 
buckets ; consequently the proprietors of the burning 
houses, unable to obtain water, set to work to tear up 
the roofs. The owners of adjoining houses, however, 
fearing that if they lifted even so much as the palmira 
thatch upon their dwellings, they would necessarily 
have the trouble of replacing it again, neglected this 
precaution, and mounted and remained perched upon the 
ridge-pole with pots of water in their hands — refused 
and hidden when the owners of the burning buildings 
came and begged for it — until their own houses caught, 
when they dropped the water-pots on the spot and 
descended with loud lamentations. Still others, through 
fear that the furniture in their houses would be burned, 
carried it out and deposited it in the street. While, 
after leaving one article, they were gone for another, 
some magnanimous experts in deeds of neighbourly 
kindness would — when no one was looking — appro- 
priate the articles thrown down in the street, and 
insure their safety by hiding them carefully in their 
own houses. 

While the potters' quarter was thus falling a prey to 
the greed of Parasu Eama,* the choultry Brahman took 
Subrahmanya to the shade of a tree at some little dis- 
tance and began to gossip about the burning of the houses. 

' Do you know,' queried he, ' the cause of the houses 
burning down at midday in this way ?' 

* The Hindu Vulcan, to whose agency fires are ascribed. 




TIk i)otlirs slittt on fire {p. 114). 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 115 

'These are thatched houses,' replied Subrahmanya, 
' and so they may have caught fire accidentally from 
the potteries and burned down. Or perhaps some one 
had a grudge and set the houses on fire.' 

' Neither of the reasons you give is the correct one. 
An evil spirit has just come to the village and set it on 
fire in this way — make up your mind to that.' 

' Why, you came here with me this very moment, 
didn't you ? How can you say for certain, without 
first inquiring of anyone, that an evil spirit set fire to 
the houses V 

' Don't I know the affairs of my own village ? It 
burns down half a dozen times every year in the sum- 
mer. Each time, the villagers make a feast to the 
goblin and send it away. If it isn^t caused by a goblin 
as I say, why don't it catch fire in the rainy season V 

' If the burning of the houses really be the work of a 
goblin, what's the reason it returns again when you 
have once made it a feast and dismissed it ? In the 
rainy season the thatch of the houses is soaked with 
rain, and so ' 

* I know neither the rhyme nor the reason of the 
thing. The mere mention of reasons always gives me 
a headache. So be assured that what I say is the 
truth, and don't contradict it. But even if you don't 
believe me now, you will to-morrow, at all events, when 
you see the tamasa with your own eyes.' 

While this conversation was going on, the fire-fiend, 
aided by his mate the wind-god, had completely con- 
sumed the potters' quarter, and, satisfied, retired to rest. 
While the owners of the burnt houses and the losers of 
the stolen goods were smarting under their loss, some of 
the spectators actually went away rejoicing that they had 
found a live coal of sufficient size to light their cheroots, 
and that coals would be cheap on the morrow. Just 
behind them Subrahmanya and the Brahman walked 
back to the choultry. 

A Brahman who was on his way to the village of 
Rukmini's mother-in-law happening into the choultry 

8—2 



Ii6 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

for bis meal in the meanwhile, Eajasekhara had written 
a letter detailing her untimely death and given it into 
his hands to deliver to his daughter's mother-in-law in 
order that the requisite obsequies might be attended to 
with all despatch. 

The day following, Eajasekhara was sitting upon the 
street pial after his midday meal, when a number of 
people came that way to the roll of drums and tom- 
toms, shouting loudly and drinking from a pot which 
they had placed upon a cart. Behind them again trooped 
a large mob who, dividing into groups, beat with sticks 
the low roofs of the houses along the road. The choultry 
Brahman burst from this group with a single cloth bound 
tightly about his waist, a stout stick in his hand, and 
his whole body streaming with sweat, seized Subrah- 
manya's hand, and dragged him down, crying, ' Yester- 
day when I told you, you said it was false, didn't you ? 
Now, at least, you'll believe, won't you V 

' Hold on,' expostulated Subrahmanya ; ' I'll come. 
What procession is this V 

' Didn't I tell you yesterday ? When the goblin that 
burns the houses comes to the village, this is how they 
do. Did you see him who was walking in front with the 
mctrr/osct-branch in one hand and a cane in the otlier V 

* He who had the big rouge bottu on ? Yes, I saw 
him. Who is he ?' 

' He's the identical mantrician who's managing this 
business. It won't take him long to expel the goddess 
that's been burning the houses lately. His name's 
Viradass.' 

' What has he already done T 

' First he begged two handfuls of rice at each of seven 
houses, had a new pot brought, and made a fire in the 
middle of the street. Into the pot he threw the rice he 
had collected, added to it some munuga greens and oil- 
cake, and boiled the whole for a watch and a half. Then 
he removed the pot and set it on the ground while he 
cleaned the middle of the street with dung, and drew 
in lines of red, white, black, green, and leaf-juice, a 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 1171 

picture of Bhaitalu. Next he drew the magic diagram 
of Bhaitalu, made 2)uja, burnt incense, and offered lamps 
and fruit. Then after emptying the pot upon seven 
platters — each one was made of seven leaves of trees 
sewed together — he planted a stake in the middle of the 
street and tied to it the Bhaitalu diagram, and the com- 
mand he had written to the demon, and did everything 
else that is usually deemed essential. Then we hoisted 
the pot upon the cart, and are now parading the town 
belabouring the houses with these sticks. Presently 
we^U go to the temple of the village goddess, after which 
there'll be something wonderful take place.' 

' If that's the case, I'll come along too,' said Subrah- 
manya, starting off with him. 

When the crowd reached the temple of the local 
goddess, the mantrician read in a loud voice the 
mandate which he had penned to the village goddess 
as follows : 

* The mandate of Viradass mantrician, to Maridi 
Maha Lakshmi, patron goddess of Peddapuram — 
Whereas some evil spirit has entered this place and is 
burning the houses, you, being goddess of the village, 
have no business to look on inactive. Through you we 
have assigned to the demon this pot. The pot you are 
to deliver to the demon and send it off to the moun- 
tains of some other highland district. Should you not 
thus dismiss it, you shall receive a yet sterner mandate 
from either Sri Bhaitalu or Sri Hanuman. " 8loka : 
Yaxaraxasa dustanam Tnusha kassala bhassukaha 
hrimi kita patangana magna sidhirvi bhishana." '* 

After reading this order the 7)iantrician caused seven 
leafen plates to be spread in as many different places, 
then the contents of the pot to be emptied upon them, 
and a black hen killed by the fellow who drove the 
cart. The blood he poured over the pot with the com- 
mand, 'Take this pot, O demon, and begone to the 
mountains.* The numerous spectators who had gathered 

* This aloka is untranslatable, and was evidently uttered ad cap- 
tandum vuhjxis. 



Ii8 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

then bathed in the tank and went home. Suhrahmanya, 
too, returned to the choultry with the Brahman. 

After Suhrahmanya returned home and related these 
occurrences, Eajasekhara spent some time in reflection 
on the superstition of the people ; but that grief which 
flowed at the mere thought of Eukmini again burst 
forth, and, being unable to check it, try as he would, he 
finally concluded that if he went somewhere he might 
perhaps forget his sorrow, and accordingly set out to do 
the town. After walking half a dozen steps past the 
choultry he espied near a house a married couple en- 
gaged in a wordy dispute. The quarrel waxed hotter 
and hotter, and soon passed into a mimic war. The 
faster the wife heaped on the abuse, the thicker the 
husband showered the blows. Hearing the shouts of 
the man and the screams of the woman, all who lived 
in the street gathered in groups to see the row. But 
though the number thus assembled was very large, there 
was not found one who had come with the intention of 
pacifying the combatants. Everyone stood and watched 
the show, gaping. At this juncture Eajasekhara left the 
spot and moved on. In another place, a hundred yards 
farther on, a dozen elderly men were sitting in confab 
upon a street pial. They were evidently persons of 
considerable relinement, and Eajasekhara thought that 
he might, perhaps, drown his sorrow somewhat by noting 
the eloquence of their rhetoric. So he stopped short in 
the street and listened. Every individual in the assem- 
bly was either eulogizing his own great self, or drawing 
pleasure from the eulogies of his friends ! Seeing them 
all enjoying themselves thus, and feeling downcast that 
there was neither any to flatter him nor to listen were 
he disposed to flatter, Eajasekhara concluded that it 
would not do for him to remain there any longer, and 
again moved on. He next observed four or five elegant 
mansions by the roadside ; and conceiving the idea of 
entering to have a look at the interiors, he mounted the 
steps of one, thinking to gain admission by representing 
that he was a pandit, and had come to see the mansion. 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. "9 

The inhabitants of the town were, however, without ex- 
ception, fond only of the rich, so his learning aided him 
not a whit, and as it was now nearly sundown he was 
forced to turn hack after only an inspection of the pala- 
tial exteriors, and make his way straight to the choul- 
try. 

The choultry Brahman had no cooking to do that 
night, so, having a little leisure, he sat down and began 
to chat with Eajasekhara. 

* Does your town boast of any celebrated pandits ? 
asked the latter. 

' Oh yes ! Harri Papayya-sastri, the court pandit, 
is here, isn't he ? He won't converse with anyone at 
all, so he's reputed to be the greatest pandit of the lot. 
Once he came to a Brahman dinner that came off in the 
choultry here, and though he didn't talk much, he ate 
a heap. Even I believed him to be a great pandit after 
that.' 

' Are there any others besides him V 

' Bhanumurti, our priest, is unmatched in his know- 
ledge of theology. When I fell sick the other day he 
adopted an expedient fit to fetch the Millennium, and 
carried off ten rupees into the bargain. The day after 
those rascally minions of the Eajah's arrested him with- 
out cause, and put him in the lock-up, simply because 
some stolen goods were found in his possession.' 

' Priests are for ever pointing out to their disciples 
the road to heaven ; but as far as they themselves are 
concerned, they always miss the road and stumble into 
some pitfall even while yet in this world, and while 
professing such intimate knowledge of the way. It is 
easy enough to become a logician or a grammarian ; but 
it is not so easy to become a yogi. But let that be as 
it may — tell us something about the condition of your 
townsfolk.' 

' Those who labour hard find what they earn insuffi- 
cient for food, clothing, and other expenses, and suffer 
accordingly. The lazy loons who don't work, on the 
other hand, enjoy the income of lands acquired by their 



I3b FORTUNE'S WHEEL, 

forefathers, and dress in line clothes and feast on half a 
dozen different kinds of cake and rice pudding every- 
day. Some families who had maintained a reputation 
for respectability, even from the time of their great 
grandfathers, found it impossible to live, and long ago 
sought refuge under the Eajah's wing. But the Eajah's 
an ungracious fellow, and no matter how much they 
court his favour, he refuses them employment on the 
pretext that he can't read.' 

'They never grow rich who are strangers to any 
higher effort than that which arises from a constant 
purpose to be lucky. Fortune is shy of persons who 
have no other business in this world than dancing at- 
tendance upon her ; but befriends those who stay at 
home and bend their backs to the work. But what of 
that ? Let's hear the rest of it.' 

' Lots of people in the town spend their evenings in 
reading the iniranas. Just a step from here there lives 
a person of quality. Although he never learned to read 
a word, he's for ever sitting with a palmleaf-book open 
before him. Then there's the mother of the Samaddar, 
who lives next door to us — she jumps for joy if you so 
much as mention the puranas. Whenever she feels 
the least bit sleepy, " Eead me something from the 
puranas" says she. And when you begin and just 
get to a capital story, she stretches herself out by the 
wall and drops off to sleep as comfortably as you 
please.' 

' What sort of traders have you V 

'The traders dispose of both their goods and their 
words at a fine profit. But no matter how much profit 
they make, it doesn't satisfy their greed in the least. 
Some of the dite here know this, and go at first to the 
shop and buy an article and give the price asked. Next 
they obtain some small article on credit and send around 
the money for it the next day. After that they gradu- 
ally procure articles of greater value, and pay the prices 
of these also when it suits their convenience. After 
they've won the confidence of the shopkeepers in this 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 121 

way, they take a great quantity of valuable goods on 
pretext of a wedding or some other festivity, and 
finally abscond with the goods without paying an anna 
for them,' 

' Why, if they make a business of roguery in this 
style, will they not lose their reputation V 

' What does it matter about reputation ? If they only 
make sure of the money beforehand, with which to buy 
it, they can purchase as much reputation as they want 
afterwards.' 

' I've always heard your Eajah spoken of both as a 
most liberal person and as one who guides his people in 
the path of justice. While such wicked deeds as these 
are going on in his very capital, does the liajah wink at 
them and do nothing V 

' V/hat do irregularities such as these amount to ? 
They're not a mustard-seed's part of a pumpkin as com- 
pared with the wickedness that ran riot formerly in the 
time of our Maharajah's father. Why, had you come to 
the town at that time, do you suppose you could have 
walked fearlessly about the streets in broad daylight 
with good clothes on, as you do now ? Why, it's only 
because our Eajah has a thousand eyes, and is constantly 
punishing hosts of evil-doers, that we have now no 
murders and such like desperate deeds.' 

' Are the religious rites prescribed by the rubric care- 
fully observed in the town V 

' They are performed according to rule morning, noon, 
and night.' 

* If that's the case, have you already repeated your 
orisons ?' 

' What, you don't suppose, do you, that I could re- 
member until now the prayer I learned on my installa- 
tion-day without forgetting it ?' 

' Well, never mind that. Have you offered your liba- 
tion V 

'Yes, I have ; not only the libation, but the whole of 
the prayer as well.' 

By the time this conversation was ended the sun had 



122 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

set, aud Rajasekliara arose and went to dinner. After 
the meal he lay down and fell into a train of reflection 
which resulted, in a determination to leave such a home 
for all knavery as that town, as quickly as possible. 
Accordingly, early the following morning he obtained a 
bandy, and setting out in it with his family, reached 
Bhimavaram by the time the sun was three hours high. 
The inhabitants of the place, hearing that some strangers 
had arrived in a cart, turned out in great force to have 
a look at them, and kept up a constant fire of interro- 
gatories as to their place of abode and the cause of their 
coming. Both Eajasekhara and Manikyamba at length 
grew weary of repeating again and again to every one 
who asked, the answers they had already so often given. 
The townsfolk made this their special business, and 
were ready enough to come and ask questions ; but no 
sooner did Eajasekhara hint that they were in need of a 
lodging than the bystanders replied that none was ob- 
tainable, and drew back as though they did not hear 
what he said. Eajasekhara then stopped the cart in the 
street and set out to look for a lodging. He was until 
midday going from house to house, but not a person 
was there in the town who would give them so much as 
a place in which to cook and eat their morning meal. 
Being new comers, the family grew sick enough, while 
Eajasekhara was looking about for a lodging, of gazing 
at the heaps of garbage piled in the streets, for they 
were all ignorant of the fact that this was none other 
than the villagers' gold — they making a business of 
carting it to the out-villages and selling it for manure. 

Eajasekhara held his nose against the vile stench and 
walked on to the house of the village Jcaranam. Having 
ascertained this person's family name, he raked up some 
distant relationship, and pressed the worthy disciple of 
the pen so hard that he finally allowed them to cook 
their morning meal in his house, and, moreover, called 
a clerical Brahman, who was a neighbour of his, and re- 
quested him to give Eajasekhara his old house in which 
to reside. He replied that the house could not be used 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 123 

as a dwelling until repaired ; that it was impossible for 
him to give it without his wife's consent ; and raised a 
score of other objections. Eajasekhara, however, induced 
him to sit down, and, after lecturing him for fully an 
hour on kindness to one's neighbour, slipped a couple of 
rupees into his hand and agreed to repair the house. 
More potent than the whole compendium of moral truths 
Eajasekhara had uttered was the money he placed in 
his hand. It won the Brahman's consent in a trice ; so 
Eajasekhara at once had the cart brought around, and 
after they had cooked and eaten a meal at the karanam's, 
entered the house of the village priest with his family 
just as the lamps were being lighted. This house had 
been erected on marshy ground. It was wholly desti- 
tute of windows, while the walls, built in accordance 
with the architectural sastra so that the master could 
touch the cross-beams with his hand, were very low. 
The doorways, in consequence, were lower still. The 
result was that even they who had never stooped before 
walked in a stooping attitude when in this house. Sadly 
deficient in height though the inner walls were, the 
outer ones that surrounded the yard had, at all events, 
heen built at such an elevation — perhaps from fear of 
burglars — that it was absolutely impossible for a breath 
of air to enter. When the occupants left the house, 
however, there being no one to take care of it, the place 
had gone to ruins, and was now little more than a mass 
of dilapidated walls through which the air found ample 
opportunity of effecting an entrance. When the house 
was occupied before, some one was constantly down sick 
in it ; for this reason and for the further one that the 
daughter of the master of the house had died there, the 
inmates had come to the conclusion that the dwelling 
was occupied by an evil spirit, and hence unfit for occu- 
pation. They therefore abandoned this and moved to 
another place. The star under which his daughter had 
died was one of the five in the Archer ; so the Brahman 
laid the house in ruins for six months, when, being still 
unwilling to return to it with his children, he built 



124 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

another, and was now living therein. After taking 
possession of the house, Eajasekhara provided for effec- 
tive ventilation by constructing windows, had the house 
raised so as to get rid of the damp, and built a separate 
kitchen in the garden at a distance from the house. For 
these repairs, food, etc., the hundred rupees he had 
brought fast melted away, and it seemed that in two or 
three months at most they would be reduced to the verge 
of want. 

Being a country place, neither milk, buttermilk, nor 
fuel could be bought in Bhimavaram. By giving the 
hulls and bran from their paddy to those who kept cows, 
they got a modicum of thin buttermilk. Every Sunday 
Eajasekhara went toPeddapuram and bought in the fair 
and carried home whatever supplies were needed for the 
week. By the time he had been a month in the place 
quite a number of the inhabitants struck up an ac- 
quaintance with him. When they learned his circum- 
stances they sympathised deeply in his distress, and 
counselled him to see Sobhanadri-rajah, who was a rela- 
tive of the Eajah, and keeper of the prison. In the 
near vicinity of Bhimavaram there stood at that time a 
fort called Syamalkota. It contained the Temple of 
Syamalamba ; hence its name. It was at that time used 
as a prison, in which were kept all persons convicted of 
crime in the dominions of the Peddapuram Eajah. The 
fort is now in ruins ; but a village has been built on its 
site which bears the name of Samalkot. Sobhanadri- 
rajah, the commander of the fort, was also the proprietor 
of the village. 

During the time Eajasekhara resided in the place 
Ramarajah was in the habit of occasionally coming to 
see them by night. 

Made anxious by the gradual melting away of their 
means, Manikyamba daily urged her husband to see 
Sobhanadri-rajah and make an effort to secure a posi- 
tion. Two or three times he went, and as often returned 
with the excuse that no opportunity had presented itself 
of seeing the Eajah. The last time Eajasekhara at- 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 125 

tempted to obtain audience of Sobhanadri-rajah. the 
following conversation transpired between him and his 
worthy spouse : 

' Did you get audience of the Eajah V queried Mani- 
kyaraba. 

* I did. While standing in the street door I caught 
sight of a servant and asked if I might go inside. He 
replied that if I was rich I might go straight in ; but if 
poor, there I must remain. After reflecting a few 
moments I made bold to enter, and soon stood before 
the Eajah.' 

' Did you address him, and acquaint him with your 
affairs in a becoming manner V 

' I went into the room and made known my circum- 
stances without reserve. Perhaps you ask, " Who with ?" 
Not with the Eajah ; for, long as I talked, not a word 
escaped from the Eajah's mouth. No sooner did I begin 
to talk than a dog near the bed began to bark. So I 
suppose I talked with it. But what it said I failed to 
grasp, since I'm not versed in dog lore. While I was 
standing there in doubt as to what it meant, the Eajah 
called a servant and commanded in a language I knew, 
to " Send this Brahman out," Twigging what was about 
to happen, I retreated quietly on my own account before 
he came up, and came straight home.' 

Having no particular inclination further to court the 
favour of a Eajah who had treated him with such marked 
respect, and cogitating as to how they were to get a 
living in the future, Eajasekhara concluded that he must 
send Subrahmanya off somewhere. He mentioned the 
matter to Manikyamba, and, with her consent, spoke to 
his son about it. He agreed to the proposal with great 
joy ; so they set their wits to work and finally concluded 
to send him to Pitapuram. On the day fixed for the 
journey Eajasekhara called his son to him, and after 
giving him many injunctions, intermixed with much 
good advice, and charging him again and again to walk 
in the path of uprightness, he blessed the kneeling 
lad and furnished him with five rupees for expense. 



126 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

Manikyamba, too, ■without perceptibly diminishing the 
stock she had in hand, showered upon him all the 
blessings the occasion demanded. Poor Subrahmanya, 
weeping that the time had now come for him to leave 
them, kissed his little sister — slipping one of the rupees 
his father had given him into her hand as he did so — 
took leave of them all, and trudged off with many 
lingering looks behind. 



CIIAPTEE X. 



Friendship with Sobhanadri-rajah — Preparations for Sita's Wedding 
— News of Ranamiirti's Death — Difference with Ramarajah — Raja- 
sekhara is Thrown into Prison — The Abduction of Sita. 

About eight o'clock one Sunday morning Eajasekhara 
was on his way to Peddapuram, when Sobhanadri-rajah, 
who was sitting upon an elevated seat in the street pia^, 
caught sight of him, and directed his servant to ' go and 
fetch the Brahman who was passing along the road.' 
This person at once came running up at the top of his 
speed and informed Eajasekhara that 'the Eajah had 
given permission for him to approach.' Eajasekhara's 
one great desire was to ingratiate himself with the Eajah 
at any cost ; so without waiting for a second invitation 
he crossed over and took his seat upon the bench which 
the Eajah pointed out to him. 

' You're the person, are you not,' asked Sobhanadri- 
rajah, ' who came from Bhimavaram lately, and is now 
living in Somabhatlu^s house V 

' I am. I visited you once before.' 

' We remember. We were then engaged in the trans- 
action of very important business and became angry 
with you. Besides, we did not know at the time that 
you were the newcomer. What number of a family 
have you dependent upon you for a living ? It's re- 
ported, too, I think, that you have a marriageable 
daughter T 

' I have at present but one daughter eligible for mar- 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 127 

riage. My eldest daughter died on the road when we 
were attacked by the robbers. I sent my son to Pita- 
puram just after coming here, to find employment of 
some sort.' 

While this conversation was in progress a number of 
the leading men of the place dropped in and seated 
themselves on the bench in the pial. To these the 
Eajah bragged incessantly of his wonderful exploits ; 
and as his utterances were wholly devoid of wit, his 
auditors supplied the deficiency with excessive laughter. 
Thinking it might give offence if he alone remained 
quiet when the whole company was roaring, Eajasekhara, 
too, though seeing nothing worth even so much as a 
smile, got into the habit of pretending to laugh when- 
ever the rest did. At first the Eajah touched lightly on 
the various topics introduced, in such a way as to lead 
Eajasekhara to think him a well-informed man ; but he 
soon began to conduct himself as though he knew every- 
thing. When he could think of nothing more to say, 
he would gaze into the faces of those present and laugh 
vacantly. This led the assembly to incessantly eulogize 
his learning. Had not some musicians come up in the 
meantime and begun to sing a song, it is safe to say that 
their flatteries would not have ceased until the gathering 
dispersed. As soon as the musicians began to sing, the 
thoughts of all turned towards home ; but, fearful of the 
Eajah's displeasure should they leave so abruptly, they 
managed, not without much difficulty and muttering to 
themselves, to keep their seats for a little longer. At 
last one of the principal auditors, unable longer to endure 
the interminable song, broke in with ' It's not right for 
these people to trouble his honour as though eulogizing 
him were their special business. So you may now order 
them to stop singing.' The company unanimously pro- 
nounced this the proper thing, and at once the gathering 
broke up. While the company were dispersing the 
Eajah asked Eajasekhara if he would not come occa- 
sionally and visit him. He replied that he would be 
delighted to do so; and, as it was then near midday. 



128 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

abandoned his trip to Peddapuram for the time and re- 
turned home. 

From that time forward Rajasekhara paid daily visits 
to Sobhanadri-rajah both morning and evening. The 
Eajah invariably received him with marked favour, and 
put him at ease with suave words. Even when he was 
engaged in the transaction of state business, Rajasekhara 
stood near and looked on. When the clerks read peti- 
tions written by the residents of the surrounding villages, 
he observed that while the real petition was crowded 
into the last two or three lines, the title alone com- 
pletely filled the first two pages ; and he began to derive 
great pleasure from the thought that his honour the 
Rajah boasted far more honorary titles than the residents 
of these villages. State business over, the Rajah would 
begin to chat with the company. It mattered not to 
what length he spun it out, his own prowess formed the 
one theme of his discourse. Although these same yarns 
had been listened to a dozen times before, the whole 
company would laugh each time they were repeated, 
precisely as they had laughed the first time. Some 
would gratify the Rajah's vanity by reciting eulogistic 
verses which they had prepared. It seemed hardly 
right to Rajasekhara to be the only one silent where all 
were so loud in their eulogiums. Since, however, he 
was without experience in the art of flattery, and was, 
moreover, fearful of uttering what was untrue, he praised 
the Rajah for the fine clothes he wore, since he was 
worthy of praise in no other particular. Even though 
he failed to gain anything else by thus conducting him- 
self at court, he at least learned the secret of raising a 
general laugh in company, for he soon acquired the 
habit of laughing first of all at his own utterances, seeing 
which the others would laugh too. Occasionally the 
Rajah would deliver a lecture on virtue. No matter 
how hard one toiled in this world, he said, 'twas simply 
for his food ; and so, do what one would in that respect, 
'twas no harm. It was owing to this maxim being so 
deeply rooted in his own mind, perhaps, that the Rajah 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. tagi 

spent his time daily from the moment he awoke until 
eleven o'clock solely in making provision for his break- 
fast ; from breakfast-time his one anxiety was whether 
he should succeed in getting any lunch ; while no sooner 
was lunch over than he began to consider what relishes 
there were for dinner. 

By these constant comings and goings, Eajasekhara 
became exceedingly intimate with the Rajah. Learn- 
ing this, the Brahraans would go to his house and chat 
over various matters, and some of them ask, in the 
course of conversation, whether he had thought of 
giving Sita to anyone in marriage. To this he would 
reply, that having no money on hand at present, he 
hadn't bothered his head about betrothing her. One 
day while Eajasekhara was taking his ease after his 
meal, Bommaganti Subbarayadu the astrologer came in, 
and began vaunting his endless learning in astrology, 
and the celebrity he had attained thereby. He stated 
that all the dite of the Telugu country sent their horos- 
copes to him to ascertain the issues, and in proof of 
this, produced a pile of calculations of nativities, pur- 
porting to have been written for the Rajahs of Viziana- 
gram and other distant territories. He then asked 
Eajasekhara to fetch the record of his nativity in order 
that he might tell him its issue. 

' My confidence in astrology is all gone,' replied 
Eajasekhara ; ' not a single forecast of all the horos- 
copes our people had written, and for which my wealth 
was plundered from me ever came true. When we set 
out on the Benares pilgrimage, we left home at what 
had been fixed upon as a lucky time, yet we encountered 
great dangers on the way. Through that I lost my 
faith in astrology. And so for the same reason, when 
I came here from Peddapuram the other day, I started 
without fixing any time whatever.' 

But mine is no common astrology. No divination of 
mine or time that I fixed ever yet missed. Whatever 
number of symbols I write in a nativity, just so many 
symbols must come true.' 



J30 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

' Even though the result be as you say, I want 
nothing to do with it. Should you declare beforehand 
that the result will be good, 'twould be very dishearten- 
ing if what I had anticipated failed to come ; while 
should it really come, I could not obtain any very 
great amount of pleasure from it because of having 
anticipated it so long. If you declare that evil will 
result, I shall not only be under the necessity of griev- 
ing when it comes, but shall be a prey to anxiety from 
this very moment. If, on the other hand, it shouldn't 
come at all, then I'll have had all this fool's sorrow for 
nothing. From such needless anxiety evil is sure to 
spring, while from rejoicing good alone can never 
come.' 

' It is very unbecoming for you, a ijandit, to go on 
in this style. We must never lose our confidence in 
sastras written by the ancients. But let that go. It 
seems that your daughter has reached marriageable age. 
Why do you longer neglect making some attempt to 
get her married ?' 

* I am myself cogitating on that very matter. I've 
seen no suitable match — besides that, I see no money 
in hand. There isn't a good alliance anywhere to your 
knowledge, is there V 

*Al-li-ance? There is — but — they're great folk. It's 
doubtful whether they'd marry into your family. If 
you could manage it, 'twould be a capital union for you 
in every respect.' 

' Where do they reside ? and what must we do to 
bring about the match V 

' Their place of residence is Peddapuram. Their 
family name is Manchirajah. They have lands that 
yield them an annual income of two thousand rujDees, 
and they're reported to have plenty of cash besides. 
The young fellow is the first of the family to marry, 
and he^s handsome. He has an elder brother, but he's 
also without family. This same young fellow will 
presently fall heir to the whole property. The bride- 
groom's name is Padmarajah. If we could only secure 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. Ijr 

Sobhanadri-rajah's aid, the match would certainly take 
place on the strength of your good luck. But in no 
other way is it possible.' 

' If that's the case, won't you first approach the Kajah 
on the subject and ascertain his views V 

' I'll go ahead and find a seat. Afterwards do you 
come too. I'll take care in the course of our talk to 
bring up the subject of your daughter's marriage while 
you are there. At that you must join in and make 
known your wish to the Eajah.' 

With these words astrologer Subbarayadu started off 
to Sobhanadri-rajah's house, where he seated himself. 
A few moments later Eajasekhara also came in. After 
conversing for a short time on various topics, the 
astrologer adroitly introduced the matter of Rajasekhara's 
daughter. 

' Is your honour,' asked he, ' acquainted with the 
fact that Eajasekhara has a daughter desirous of marry- 
ing ?' 

' We are aware of the fact,' replied Sobhanadri-rajah ; 
* we heard but recently. Is the girl of marriageable 
age?' 

' I saw her at noon this very day. It won't do to 
keep her any longer. A younger girl than this one 
attained to puberty in my relative's village the other 
day.' 

' Have you thought of any particular alliance V 

'There's Manchirajah Padmarajah in Peddapuram. 
If you would but help, a match might be arranged 
there.' 

' True, it's a capital connection. But would he be 
willing to marry this girl V 

' It will never do,' broke in Eajasekhara, ' for your 
honour to fail to make some effort to secure us this 
favour. Once you have made known your wishes, 
they won't act in opposition to them.' 

' Padmarajah came in this morning,' replied Sobhanadri- 
rajah. ' We'll speak to him about it while you are 
here. Ho ! Swamiga ! Manchirajah Padmarajah is 

9—2 



132 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

probably talking with our brother-in-law. Go and tell 
him we said he was to look in for a moment before he 
leaves — without fail.' 

A short time after the departure of the servant, there 
walked in a dark man of thirty years of age, wearing 
white bleached clothes, rings on his ten fingers, bracelets 
on his arms, and a gold necklace on his neck, Sobhanadri- 
rajah politely invited him to be seated, and motioned 
him to a place at his side. 

' Swamigardu,' remarked the newcomer, ' informed 
me that your honour wanted me, and so I returned at 
once, although already on my way. Have you any- 
thing that you wish to communicate to me V 

' This gentleman,' replied Sobhanadri-rajah, * has 
been living in our village for some time. He is a very 
respectable man. His name is Eajasekhara, He has 
heard that you are thinking of marriage. He has a 
daughter — why shouldn^t you marry her ? The girl is 
very beautiful ; while their family is good, and has long 
been a right orthodox one.' 

' There are a lot of people about who say they'll give 
their girls. Hitherto I've had no desire whatever to 
enter into matrimony. Had I had, I'd have been 
married in my early youth and been blessed with a 
family by this time. But when people in your position 
wring one's neck, one must consent whether or no. 
However, I'll inform my elder brother what your 
honour's wish is in regard to the matter, and let you 
know to-morrow whatever his decision may be.' 

' Be sure and tell your brother that we directed you 
to say that, in case he should not listen to us now, this 
is the conclusion of our friendship with him.' 

'Very good. He'll not act contrary to your com- 
mand. I shall take leave.' 

After Padmarajah had taken his departure, Eajase- 
khara implored Sobhanadri-rajah again and again to 
make a special effort to compass so desirable an alliance. 
The Eajali gave his word that he would do everything 
in his power to bring about the match, and confidently 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 133 

asserted that, could the union but be accomplished, 
Eajasekhara would enjoy greater respectability and 
renown than ever before. As it was now sunset the 
Eajah rose for dinner, and the remaining company made 
their salaams and departed to their homes. 

The sun was but two hours high on the following 
day when Eajasekhara came in ; but Sobhanadri-rajah 
immediately left his room to receive him. 

' Do you know,' said he smiling gleefully, ' the answer 
to the message we sent yesterday actually came last 
night V 

' What was the answer ? What was the answer V 
eagerly asked Eajasekhara. 

' After I had sent so pressing an invitation, do you 
think they would decline it ? They wrote a note saying 
theyM marry her,' replied he, putting a palm-leaf roll 
into Eajasekhara's hand. 

Eajasekhara received it with every manifestation of 
delight ; and the Eajah sent him at once to call astro- 
loger Subbarayadu to determine a suitable time for the 
wedding. After referring to t\iQ 'panchanga and reflect- 
ing for a moment, the savant fixed the time in the sign 
Aries and constellation Punarvassu, at six and one half 
minutes after twelve o'clock on the night of Thursday 
the seventh of the wane of the month Vaisakha. Sobha- 
nadri-rajah observed that it would be necessary to com- 
mence the preparations for the wedding immediately ; 
and, adding that if Eajasekhara was in want of money, 
he might take this amount for the present and repay it 
when convenient, opened his box and handed him one 
hundred rupees. He then called a servant and placed 
him at Eajasekhara's disposal, with directions to remain 
in attendance for a week, and to do whatever he was 
told. Accepting this assistance gladly, Eajasekhara 
returned home. 

From that day forward Eajasekhara was constantly 
trotting back and forth to Peddapuram, buying dhal and 
other articles of the kind, and fetching pot-herbs from 
the Sunday fair. They finished all preparations for the 



J34 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

wedding, and got Sita ready* for that event on the 
fifth. When it wanted yet a night of the time fixed for 
the wedding ceremony, that is, on the night of the sixth, 
just at dark there came a cooly carrying a stick in his 
hand, and closely wrapped in a blanket, who handed 
Sita a palm-leaf roll — he had brought a letter, he said, 
from Eajahmundry, Manikyamba came out just then 
and took the letter from Sita's hand. Eajasekhara had 
gone to Peddapuram and hadn't yet returned ; but as 
it was now past the usual time of his arrival, the cooly 
was to wait in the street nntil he came, she said, and 
disappeared in the house. As Eajasekhara was rather 
late that evening the cooly grew impatient ; so Maniky- 
amba gave him a pint of rice and some coppers and sent 
him off. A moment later Sita went to the door to see 
wliether her father was coming, and found there a staff, 
which they, supposing the cooly who had just gone to 
have dropped, placed in a corner of the bedroom to be 
returned to him should he come back for it. 

In a little while Eajasekhara arrived. As soon as his 
wife told him a letter had come from Eajahmundry, and 
gave it into his hand, he took it to the light ; but he had 
not read it half through when the letter fell from his 
trembling hands to the floor and tears began to stream 
from his eyes. Manikyamba was standing by to hear 
what the epistle contained. Alarmed at her husband's 
gestures, and unable to account for his sudden grief, she 
begged him to tell her what the trouble was. In choked 
accents he replied that their relative, Eamamurti, had 
breathed his last at noon the day previous, of cholera ; 
and over this sad intelligence they grieved long in 
concert. 

Early on the morning of the next day, Eajasekhara 
proceeded to Sobhanadri-rajah's house, and informed 
him of the misfortune which had befallen them in the 
death of his cousin Eamamurti ; and, after expressing 

* Literally, 'Made her bride' — i.e., by bathing and anointing. A 
similar ceremony is performed on the same day by the parents of the 
bridegroom. 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 135 

his sorrow at the loss and delay to the wedding which 
must inevitably occur through the time for that event 
falling just when they were in defilement for the dead, 
he begged that a messenger might be sent to the bride- 
groom's people immediately so as to prevent their start- 
ing. Sobhanadri-rajah consoled him as far as it lay in 
his power, and at once despatched a messenger to Pedda- 
puram. Eajasekhara then returned home. 

On the following Sunday Eajasekhara, after his 
morning meal, transported to Peddapuram by means of 
coolies a number of Icavadies of vegetables for the pur- 
pose of disposing of them in the fair. While standing 
about after selling his produce to a shopkeeper at a 
bargain, an adult, wearing a turban and a long coat, 
approached and accosted him with — 

'Hallo, brother! what defilement have you suffered 
that you wear that bottu V 

Eajasekhara stood stupefied and unable to command 
a word, gazing into the speaker's face. Again the re- 
spectable-looking party demanded : 

'You've got on a sandal- wood patch — what defile- 
ment are we under V 

The speaker was no other than Eamamurti himself! 

' You remember, don't you, my sending you the news 
of our Eukmini's death ?' replied Eajasekhara after his 
first transport of joy at again seeing his cousin alive; 
' well, we had arranged Sita's wedding for the day before 
yesterday, Thursday, and were all ready for the event, 
when on Wednesday evening along came some base 
wretch when I was out, and handed your sister-in-law 
a letter stating that you were dead.' 

* Someone has adopted this wicked device for the 
purpose of frustrating the marriage.' 

'He was no well-wisher who planned the affair. Put 
come along home with me and see your sister-in-law 
and Sita.' 

'I've just now got to see the Rajah, and return to 
Eajahmundry without delay on state business. But in 
a month's time I'll come over again and spend a couple 



•136 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

of days with you,' replied Eamamurti as he turned away 
towards the Kajah's court for the purpose of transacting 
his business. 

Eajasekliara went straight to Bhimavaram and told 
his wife the good news about Eamamurti, cursing copi- 
ously the villain who had balked the marriage. At that 
moment Sita brought the staff which the cooly had 
dropped on his departure, and showed it to her father. 
No sooner had he taken it in his hand and examined it 
than he recognised it as Eamarajah's. It was, he 
declared to his wife, the very one he had shown him 
but a short time before. On further reflection, they 
both concluded for a certainty that the fellow who 
brought the letter could have been none other than 
Eamarajah. 

' But why,' mused Eajasekhara, ' wliy should Eama- 
jah, who of all people is under obligation to us, do such 
a thing ?' 

' 'Twas only the other night,' added Manikyaiuba, 

* that he saved our lives and showed us so much kind- 
ness. I can guess no reason whatever why he should 
meditate such a piece of villany as this.' 

' He may have taken money from our enemies and 
brought himself to commit this evil deed,' suggested 
her husband ; * money makes enemies of even the 
dearest friends, you know.' 

* Greed of gain in his present circumstances may- 
have led him to commit this folly. But see ! There 
comes Eamarajah himself ! If you ask him about it, 
all will be plain.' 

' What, Sir ! Eamarajah !' called out Eajasekhara ; 

* considering that we did you so great a kindness, is it 
charitable in you to balk our plans in this way V 

' How have I balked your plans ?' 

' Didn'c you trump up a letter to the effect that our 
Eamamurti was dead, and give it to my people when I 
was out ?' 

' I haven't so much as seen the inside of your house 
while you were out. And I want you to understand 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 137 

that if you impute such base actions to me, you and I'll 
not get along together.' 

' If you haven^t so much as seen the inside of my 
house, how did this stick of yours come here V 

' I've been unable to find my stick for five or six 
days back, and have been looking everywhere for it. 
Ah, now I see ! You carried off the stick yourself, and 
now you're laying the blame on me, so's to escape. I 
always supposed you to be some sort of honest people.' 

' And pray what dishonesty have you spied out in 
me? Do you* never again cross the threshold of my 
house !' 

' Don't you nivu me. Who wants anything to do 
•with your house ?' demanded Eamarajah, starting up 
and leaving them abruptly. 

Immediately after Rajasekhara, too, went out. Pro- 
ceeding to the house of Sobhanadri-rajah he related to 
him all that had occurred, and begged him to call the 
astrologer for the purpose of again fixing a time for the 
wedding. 

' The night of the very day on which he fixed the 
time before in your house,' replied Sobhanadri-rajah, 
' the astrologer took the fever. The disease grew so 
bad that he lost all desire to live ; so at noon on Tues- 
day they laid him on the ground. t Thereupon all his 
relatives came together, and thinking such a death an 
improper one for an educated Brahman to die, adminis- 
tered extreme unction. From that very night the 
disease turned, and they say he is now quite conva- 
lescent. Do you go at once and return here after, ascer- 
taining at what time this month the marriage should 
come oft".' 

* Very good. I shall take leave ;' and Rajasekhara, 
suiting the action to the word, rose and proceeded with- 
out delay to the house of astrologer Subbarayadu. 
Finding the astrologer seated on a bench in the porch, 

* Nivu, the second person singular, used only in addressing inferiors. 
+ See also the account of the death of Subbaina, p. 82. Brahminn 
invariably deposit the dying upon the ground. 



138 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

leaning against the wall, he saluted him and hoped he 
was much better. 

' I am somewhat better,' replied the astrologer ; 
' when my complaint was at its worst and I was un- 
conscious, all my kinsfolk gathered with the intention 
of making away with my goods, and administered absolu- 
tion to me. It is but six months since my wife by my 
second marriage came to live with me. 1 haven't en- 
joyed a single year's unbroken happiness with her yet, 
and as soon as I get stronger they won't so much as 
allow me to stay in the house, but will hunt me out of 
it.' 

* What's the use of crying over spilt milk ? Banish 
all thought of domestic felicity from your mind, and 
pass your remaining time in reflecting upon your 
approaching dissolution, and in what is more essential 
in your present state — the repetition of the pranava.'*' 

' I have already severed all earthly ties. You must 
forget and forgive the injury I did you.' 

' Why, what injury have you ever done me V 

* The ancients say that if past sin be confessed, 'twill 
be remitted. The fellow to whom you gave Sita in 
marriage the other day is not a rich man. He's a pimp 
who procures harlots for Sobhanadri-rajah. The clothes, 
bracelets, and all the other things he wore, are the 
Eajah's. The Rajah planned the whole affair and sent 
me to you. I carried out the scheme. It had already 
been thus foreordained of God, and so the affair passed 
off successfully. So, as you just said, what's the use of 
crying over spilt milk V 

' Is Sobhanadri-rajah such a base wretch ? When I 
first went to visit him, I guessed what manner of man 
he was. But when he put the rupees into my hand, I, 
ignorant of this base deception, supposed he gave them 
simply out of regard for me. Had the wedding not 
fallen through by Eamarajah's charit}', it would have 
been an accomplished fact. Had it not been for him, 

* The mystic syllable OM, the repetition of which is believed to 
ensure salvation. 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 13^ 

we would certainly have cut the child's throat without 
cause.' 

' The marriage not taken place ? I hear good news ! 
How did what was as good as done fall through V 

' News of our defilement by the death of a relative 
reached us ; so the happy event did not come otf at the 
time you fixed. That villain just now sent me to call 
you for the very purpose of fixing the time anew.' 

'Don't talk to me any longer about that evil doer. 
The very day I fixed the date for the wedding in your 
house at that sinner's direction, this complaint set in ; 
so, believing that God had brought this affliction upon 
me as a punishment for the deceit I'd practised upon 
you, I vowed by ten million gods to make a clean 
breast of the whole truth, and obtain absolution from 
my sin, should I recover before the marriage was con- 
summated. But I didn't recover in time. Then I 
called to mind the maxim of Sukra : 

' Of maidens fair and marriage matters grave, 
Of life or wealth or woman's virtue ta'en — 
A herd of cows or Brahmin's life to save — 
Thou mayest lie, O Rajah, without bane,' 

and pacified my conscience somewhat by the reflection 
that 1 had only lied about a marriage. Probably it 
was on the strength of the same maxim that no one 
else said anything to you about Padmarajah.' 

* I'Jl go at once and ask Sobhanadri-rajah about the 
affair, and say to his very face whatever needs to be 
said.' 

Suiting the action to the word Eajasekhara started 
off, and found Sobhanadri-rajah standing in his street- 
door. ' I believed your words,' cried liajasekhara ' to 
be those of a man of some honour ; but in that I was 
deceived. Is it because I have been on friendly terms 
with you so long, that you attempt to marry my 
daughter to a worthless wretch V 

With these words he was turning away when 
Sobhanadri-rajah called out, ' Ileturn the rupees you 
got from us, and then be off about your business.' 



I40 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

* I spent the rupees you gave me, and my own as 
well in the purchase ot" articles for the wedding. I 
have now no money. When I have it in hand I'll repay 
you,' replied Rajasekhara again turning away. 

Sobhanadri-rajah at once directed his servants to 
seize him and cast him into prison. 

Erom the moment Manikyamba heard this news she 
fell to brooding over the calamity which had befallen 
her husband, renounced food and sleep, and spent her 
whole time in religious meditations, interrupted at 
intervals by pining grief. 

Three days after this occurrence, Sita was standing 
in the street door just at dawn when two strangers 
accosted her, stating that her brother had come from 
Pitapuram and was then in the house of the laranam 
in the next street, whence he had sent them to fetch 
her. On this pretence tliey took Sita to the outskirts 
of the village, when they lifted her betv/een them and 
ran off at the top of their speed. Manikyamba no 
sooner heard this piece of bad news than she fell to the 
ground in a swoon. After regaining consciousness she 
would listen to no consolations, but bewailed incessantly 
with copious floods of tears the hard separation from 
her husband and her daughter's sad fate. 



CHAPTER XT. 

Subrahmanya reaches Pitapuram— A Friend meets him and makes him 
Welcome to his Home — Narrative of Niladri-rajah — The Rajah's 
Money disappears — They use the Magic Eyesalve — The Lost Trea- 
sure is found in Niladri -rajah's Yard with a Quantity of other 
Vakiables. 

The day he left his parents, Subrahmanya lost his way, 
and after wandering he knew not where, finally reached 
Pitapuram just at dusk. It happened that at that 
moment a immber of evil-minded persons, who were 
seated in a certain place, caught sight of him, and 
observing his forlorn condition, and concluding from his 
manner that he was a rustic, determined to bully the 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 141 

lad and get what they could out of him. One of the 
group at once started up, and, advancing into the road 
by which Subrahmanya was approaching, blocked his 
advance, and demanded, * Who comes there V 

' I'm a Brahman,' replied Subrahmanya ; ' I'm coming 
from Bhimarvaram.' 

* What's the reason you enter the place when it is so 
dark ?' 

' Had I walked straight on from the time I started, 
I'd have got here while it was yet daylight ; but I 
missed the way and took the wrong road, and so I'm late, 
as you see.' 

' Have you any relatives in the place ?' 

' I have no relatives here. I've come to wait on the 
Eajah and obtain work.' 

' Whose is that bundle on your shoulder V 

' Mine, of course. What would I be doing with 
another person's bundle V 

* It is not yours. You seem a suspicious character. 
I shan't let you off yet awhile. Along with you to the 
station.' 

' I'm no thief. I've been most respectable from my 
very childhood. Let me go.' 

' The Eajah's order is not to let anyone off who enters 
the town after dark. But what will you give me if I 
let you go V 

' I'll give you four annas. Let me go.' 

* It can't be done under four rupees. You look like 
the very rascal I'm after. Put the bundle down. If 
you don't do as I tell you, look out, or you'll get some- 
thing for yourself.' 

Just then a man who had shortly before gone to the 
outskirts of the village and was now returning, happened 
along that very road on his way home, and hearing the 
row, stopped and asked, ' What are you annoying that 
man for ?' 

' See here,' cried Subrahmanya, ' this fellow says that 
he won't let me go unless I give him four rupees. He's 
restraining me by force.' 



142 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

' What, Subrahmanya ! is it you ?' cried the stranger. 
' I recognized your voice at once. What are you doing 
here alone at this time of night ? You haven't run 
away from home secretly, have you ? But come, let us 
go to the house.' 

' Why, Umapati, how did you come here ? Had you 
been a moment later, it's hard to say what that fellow 
would have done to me.' 

' What fellow ? Where's the person who was 
bothering you ? 

' Seeing us talking he slipped off, and — there he is, 
running away yonder in the distance.' 

' Let him go. We'll see what can be done about him 
to-morrow.' 

Conversing with each other thus, the pair in company 
walked towards the house, and by the time they had 
arrived there Subrahmanya had related to his companion 
the misfortunes which, up to that time, had befallen his 
father and family, their then circumstances, and the 
reason of his coming to Pitapuram. Umapati, while 
deeply grieved at this sad intelligence, expressed his 
astonishment that the abundant wealth which Eajase- 
khara enjoyed when he studied with him had melted 
away so entirely, and left its whilom possessor in so 
poverty-stricken a condition ; and he determined to 
spare no effort on behalf of the priest who had educated 
him, but to do him every kindness that lay in his power. 
He therefore gave Subrahmanya a most hearty welcome, 
informed him that he was in the enjoyment of a position, 
under the Pitapuram Eajah, worth twenty rupees a 
month, and told him that he would endeavour to induce 
the Eajah to provide him with a situation equally good. 
Subrahmanya was, he added, to regard his house as his 
home until he obtained this employment. Accordingly, 
every day after their meal, Subrahmanya accompanied 
Umapati to the Eajah's court. His Highness, 
Vijayarama, Maharajah of Pitapuram, one day observed 
the strange lad, and asked Umapati who he was. 
Whereupon Umapati narrated the story of his friend's 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 143 

family from beginning to end, and ended by preferring 
a request that His Highness might be pleased to grant 
him some post at court. 

On the road which ran from Umapati's house to the 
fort, stood a spacious mansion. A rajah had rented 
this building, and occupied it with his suite for a month 
past. A few days before he had honoured the 
Brahmans of the place with a dinner. It comes 
naturally to everybody to eat to repletion when 
they get it for nothing ; and these worthy Brahmans, 
though accustomed to season their food with but 
a few drops of ghi when at home, for once in their 
lives, at least, drank this oleaginous delicacy by tlie 
quart. This dinner made the rajah famous through- 
out the town ; so much so, that crowds came daily to 
court his favour. His name was Niladri-rajah. One day 
as Niladri-rajah was taking his morning constitutional 
on the street pial after breakfast, he caught sight of 
Subrahmanya passing at a distance, and signalled that 
he wished to speak with him. 

' It seems to us/ said he, ' that we've seen you some- 
where before. To what place do you belong V 

' My native place is Dhavalesvaram. Our family 
name is Khoteti. My name is Subrahmanya.' 

' Ah, we recollect ! Aren't you Eajasekhara's son ? 
Where is he at present V 

' He's in Bhimavaram. Where did you know him ?' 

* It was in Dhavalesvaram that we saw him. A year 
ago, while on a pilgrimage, we spent ten days in 
Dhavalesvaram. While there we bathed in the 
Godaveri, visited Kotiphali and other celebrated shrines, 
and came here a month ago to visit the shrine of 
Padagaya. Here we've been ever since. Your worthy 
father regarded us as his priest. While we were there 
your good father was never away from our side.' 

' I have no recollection of seeing you a year ago. 
Where did you lodge ?' 

* You don't recollect, but we do very well. Let me 
see — you should have a couple of sisters. Are they well V 



144 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

' My elder sister, riukmini, is dead. The younger one 
is well.' 

' You're not very well acquainted with our affairs, I 
fancy. The Vizianagram Eajah is our maternal uncle's 
son. She that was married to the Rajah of Mogaliturra 
is our cousin by our father's joint wife.' 

* Just now I'm on my way to court. I'll call some 
other time when I have leisure, and have a talk. Will 
you grant me leave for the present?' said Subrahmauya, 
rising ; and liaving made his devoir, he proceeded on his 
way to the Rajah's hall of audience. This was now an 
everyday business with him ; for he never flagged in his 
attendance at court, where he struck up an acquaintance 
with all the officials, and acquired much valuable in- 
formation about the details of State business. When- 
ever the clerks had a document to write, they would, 
without exception, call Subrahmanya, and have him draw 
it up for them. Whenever an account was to be squared, 
they would have no one to do it but Subrahmanya. For 
this he got not an anna of pay ; but, so far as work went, 
his position was superior to that of the salaried clerks. 
No matter what or how much work they asked him to 
do, he was always ready to go at it. By this means he 
soon won the goodwill of the whole office ; and one day 
the clerks went in a body and represented to the Rajah 
that this lad had long been serving and expecting a 
situation, and begged His Highness to grant him one. 
To this the Rajah replied that when an opening 
presented itself, he would confer the post upon hitn ; in 
the meantime he was to remain in attendance at the 
palace. 

Meanwhile Subrahmanya had one day again called 
on Niladri-rajah, who greeted him cordially. 

' Well, Master Subrahmanya, what's the news in 
town ?' 

* Nothing of moment. I'm still waiting the Rajah's 
pleasure for a situation. I haven't got into work yet.' 

' Why should you wait so long ? Can you undertake 
a journey to a foreign country ? We'll get you a capital 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 145 

situation, without the slightest difficulty, under the 
Maharajah of Vizianagram. He's our mother's younger 
sister's son.' 

This last assertion not agreeing with his former state- 
ment that this Rajah was the son of his maternal uncle, 
Subrahmanya inferred that he was lying ; but his 
proposal was so magnanimous that the lad was pleased, 
and made no reply. 

' Well,' demanded Niladri-rajah, * what are you 
hesitating about ? As sure as you're alive M^e'll get you 
a capital situation. Why, the strongest friendship 
exists between Ramavarma, the Eajah of Kalahasti, and 
ourselves. When we were little, he and we rode in the 
same carriage together. This is a great secret — you're 
not to tell anyone.' 

* All right. If I don't get into work here, I'll cer- 
tainly come.' 

* We'll tell you another secret. In our youth, we and 
the Kalahasti Eajah used to gamble together. His 
affairs are nothing to us, of course ; but, you see, he 
kept a dancing-girl at that time.' 

' Your honour is wearing the rice bottu very early in 
the morning. Do you perform the pardhiva ?' * 

* I used to do the pardhiva ; but at present I per- 
form Siva pujah. Report says, I think, that your 
Eajah is also very much devoted to the Siva pujah. 
It is by this means, so we've heard, that he became so 
rich.' 

'Yes, I too have heard that he's very wealthy.' 

* How much money is your Eajah reported to have 
by him ?' 

' The common report is that it's not less than ten lacs' 
' The whole of it is kept in the fort, I suppose ?' 
'The whole of it is kept in the fort. A corps of old 

veterans, who have long served faithfully, is on guard 

there.' 

* Pardhiva, the worship of an earthen Ihifja, performed at early 
morning. Siva pujah, wornhip of the ^toue liwja, performed usually at 
inid-d.iy. 

10 



/ 



146 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

' The Maharajah of Yizianagram thinks of erecting a 
new fort, and charged us expressly to procure plans of 
the forts in all the towns we visited. Only the other 
day we secured a plan of the Peddapuram fort. Couldn't 
you draw a diagram of this one too, and let us have it V 

' Certainly. Fetch paper and pen ; Til strike it on 
and give it you at once,' replied Subrahmanya. 

When paper and pens had been brought in, he drew 
from memory a plan of all he had seen in the fort, and 
handed it to Niladrirajah. That worthy took the paper, 
and began at once to ask questions about the uses to 
which the various sections were put, and about the 
solidity of the wall, To these Subrahmanya went on to 
give vSuitable replies so far as he knew the particulars. 

' It's on the north side, next the street, is it not — the 
treasury ?' asked Niladri-rajah. 

'Yes.' 

' It's all first-rate ; but how high did they build the 
walls V 

' It's probably about twelve feet.' 

'You must keep the matter dark, and tell no one 
about our having drawn a plan of the fort. Eajahs 
don't like the idea of there being another fort similar to 
their own.' 

With this parting caution Niladri-rajah called for 
betel and leaf, which he presented to Subrahmanya, and 
dismissed him with the assurance that when the fort 
w^as erected he would not fail to inform his Highness 
that he was the person who had drawn the plan. 
Pleased with this promise, Subrahmanya took his 
departure and wended his way slowly homeward, 
building all sorts of castles in the air on the strength 
of the hope that he might, perhaps, obtain a position of 
emolument. 

Early one morning, several days after the events just 
narrated, a rumour became current in the town that 
thieves had broken into the Eajah's palace and carried 
off the jewels and money from the treasury. A little 
later the P ijah's servants began to raise the hue and 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 147 

cry, and to visit all parts of the town, seizing all who 
were unfriendly to them, and dragging them off to the 
station, where those in charge locked them up in the 
cells and proceeded to torture them in various ways to 
compel them to confess the crime. Large numbers of 
innocent persons were thus seized and tortured ; but 
the police were wholly unable to get any clue to the 
real thieves. On the north side of the fort there were 
footprints as though the burglars had reared a ladder 
against the wall and thus effected an entrance. In the 
stone wall of the treasure-room they had pierced a hole 
as large as a small doorway. Had three able men 
undertaken to dig such an opening, it would have taken 
them at least half a day. There was therefore no room 
for conjecture as to what had become of the sleep of the 
thieves who had been up and hard at work so much of 
the night ; it had, in double measure, fled for refuge to 
the warders. It was, however, whispered in the town 
that when the chink of rupees was heard in the vault, 
the men who stood guard supposed it to be the Goddess 
of Eiches groaning, and rushed in terror into a strong 
room, where they saved their lives by barricading the 
door. Which of these hypotheses is correct the All wise 
alone knows ; but it is certain at all events that the Diva 
Pecunia left the fort that night by the new door, 
mounted upon human shoulders. Notwithstanding all 
their efforts, the royal servants could find no trace of 
the thieves ; so at length, worn out, they went to the 
captain and gave a detailed report of their strenuous 
efforts. The captain was greatly perplexed as to what 
course to pursue ; but after a moment's reflection he 
concluded to lay the blame upon some one of the royal 
employes ; for he knew that if he failed to catch the 
thieves and recover the money, he would incur the 
Eajah's displeasure. With this object in view he 
examined all who frequented the court; but fearing 
that if he charged any of them they would be angry 
with him, he decided to lay the blame upon one of the 
subordinates. Considering it improper, however, for 

10—2 



148 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

himself to appear as the accuser, he proceeded to his 
house, and, alter talking the matter over with certain 
parties, sent out for a person reported to be skilled in 
the use of the magic eye-salve. In the course of three 
hours he put in an appearance. 

' See, here, Bhimanna,' said he as the diviner entered, 
'last niglit some treasure was stolen from the Rajah's 
palace. If you can name the man who took that money, 
your fortune's made.' 

' How long will that take ? If you can bring back 
the cash, I'll apply the collyrium and tell you the name 
in a twinkling.' 

'Have you got the collyrium by you now, ready 
made V 

' I have. But it won't have any effect upon anyone 
but a cat-eyed man.* You must have some such person 
called.' 

Oq hearing this the captain summoned a servant. 

' Here, you, go and fetch Samigardu the washerman,' 
^aid he, sending him off. 

The servant started on his errand without delay, and 
in the course of an hour returned, accompanied by 
Samigardu. In the meantime the diviner had had ;a 
servant-maid clean a room with cowdung, in one corner 
of which he lighted a large oil-lamp. Alter bathing, he 
entered the room and drew before the lamp a design in 
flour, in which he placed an image of Anjaneya and a 
casket of eye-unguent,*f* after which he proceeded to 
make pujah. As soon as the washerman came in the 
diviner brought his pujah to an end, seated the washer- 
man in the middle of the drawing, rubbed some of the 
eye-unguent from the casket in the palm of his righi 
hand, and bade him gaze steadily at it, and describe 
everything that a|)peared. 

' Put your hand close to the light/ said he, ' and look 

* I.e., a blue-eyed man. 

+ Katuka or anjanu, a mixture of lampblack and oil applied by 
Hindu women to the eyelids to increase the brilliancy of the tyes. 
This unguent is believed to possess magic properties. 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 149 

at it without winking. Is anything visible to you 
now?' 

* No,' replied Samigardu, * nothing but the lampblack.' 
'Don^t let your sight wander. Do you see anything 

now ?' 

' It's showing now. It looks like a big gold plate.' 

' Is there anything in the centre of the plate V 

' There's an avisi tree,' 

' It's not an avisi, it's an asoka. See who is in the 
branches of the tree.' 

' There's a big monkey.' 

* Call him not a monkey. 'Tis the blessed Anjaneya ! 
Make him a salutation in your mind and see what he'il 
say.' 

'He's moving his lips over something; but I can't 
catch the words.' 

' Ask him who made away with the Eajah's money.' 

* He says without doubt 'twas one of the people who 
are in attendance on the Eajah.' 

' Ask his family name.' 

' Koti.' 

' Ask his other name, too.' 

' Subbama.' 

' Subrahmanya ? Koteti Subrahmanya !' 

' You didn't say it that way a little while ago,' pro- 
tested the washerman. 

' Is it with Anjaneya you're talking ? Do you mean 
to say that Anjaneya didn't pronounce it so just now ? 
That's just what he did say. 'Twas you who couldn't 
get the name into your mouth and pronounced it wrong. 
That'll do DOW — get up. And, look you, keep your 
mouth shut about this.' 

With this admonition he pushed Samigardu aside, 
and fell to shouting the name and declaring that the 
person who had carried off the treasure had been 
detected. The captain of the guard was convinced that 
the robbery could have been committed by no one else, 
and fairly danced with delight at the success of his 
plan. All the court employes were of the opinion, how- 



ISO FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

over, that these two had laid their lieads together and 
coached the washerman, and that there was not a 
particle of truth in the report. As for the vulgar herd, 
they reasoned that if the party named really had not 
committed the burglary, how should the washerman 
know his name ? and affirmed stoutly that Subrah- 
maiiya was the very scamp who did the business. 
Everywhere in the village the populace was to be seen 
in groups discussing the fact that when the magic oint- 
ment was used it had turned out that Subrahmanya had 
stolen the money. The Eajah believed not the story. 

When Subrahmanya went home from the court-house 
that night, the people all along the way pointed their 
tingers at him with the remark that 'this was the 
fellow who had committed the burglary.' Ashamed 
that he had innocently incurred such unjust blame, he 
went and lay down all alone after eating his meal and 
began to puzzle his brain over the matter as follows : 

' Who could it be that dug the hole in the wall ? No 
one would undertake so daring a deed single-handed. 
There certainly could not have been less than two or 
three to pierce so strong a wall. Who could those three 
be ? They must have known the lay of the fort, or 
they could not have managed so well. When Niladri- 
rajah got me to draw that plan of the fort a few days 
ago, he asked two or three limes about the treasury. 
What was his purpose in asking such questions ? He 
must be connected in some way or other with the 
burglary. He asked the height of the wall, too. If he 
had no connection with the robbery, of what use would 
the height of the wall be to him ? And besides that, 
before a breath of the matter got abroad in the town, 
when I was going to the outskirts of the village just at 
daybreak, he called me and said it was rumoured that 
burglars had broken into the palace. If he was not 
one of the gang, how did he know that fact so early in 
the morning ? When 1 came home that evening, too, I 
saw him standing in the street. His conduct then was 
suspicious. Considering all these coincidences, I have 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 151 

no hesitation in pronouncing him the leader of the 
gang. To-morrow I'll ask the Eajah for an escort of 
constables, make a descent upon his house without any- 
one knowing it, and search all the boxes and other 
receptacles where money is likely to be found. In this 
way I shall be sure to get a part of the treasure at 
least. That will free me from blame, at all events.' 

Racked by such thoughts as these he dragged wearily 
through the night, and as soon as it became light paid 
his respects to the Rajah. He had done nothing, he 
said, to incur the slightest blame ; but if His Highness 
would intrust him with a few constables and bid them 
do as he directed, he would assuredly apprehend the 
thieves with their booty. The Rajah listened attentively 
to what he had to say, and at once summoned ten 
constables and charged them straitly to do whatever 
Subrahmanya should bid them, and to report the result 
to him. With these men Subrahmanya proceeded 
direct to the house of Niladri-rajah, and finding the 
street door closed, stationed a guard around the build- 
ing and entered the garden by a wicket, with two con- 
stables. He found Niladri-rajah in the yard, who, on 
seeing strangers enter, was much embarrassed. 

' Pray, Subrahmanya, on what business have you 
come here so early in the morning V asked he. 

Simply to visit your honour. What are you having 
done in the garden V 

' I've been having the garden dug up with the inten- 
tion of planting it. I was just considering what seed 
I should sow when you came in,' replied Niladri-rajah, 
forgetting in his confusion to apply the plural number 
to himself, and speaking as became his true standing. 
Without a word Subrahmanya effected an entrance with 
his men and opened and examined all the boxes. To 
his astonishment he found in them along with other 
things the articles which the byragi had some time 
before stolen from his father's house. But not a trace 
was there of the Rajah's property. Having found his 
own money, Subrahmanya concluded that the thief 



152 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

could be none other than Niladri-rajah ; and guessing 
that he had buried the articles in the ground and dug 
the whole garden over to hide all trace of the spot, and 
then lied in saying that it was for the purpose of sowing 
seed, he had the constables re-dig the entire enclosure. 
There in a certain spot, waist-deep in the earth, they 
came upon the whole of the property lost by the Eajah, 
Not a coiuries worth was missing. Appointing consta- 
bles to fetch the treasure round by means of coolies, 
and to bring along Niladri-rajah and his servants under 
arrest without delay, Subrahmanya hurried on the 
palace where he related fully what had occurred, ordered 
in the baskets of treasure, and handed over the thieves. 
IsTiladri-rajah and his accomplices confessed their guilt 
and begged to be let off. So pleased was the Rajah 
that he at once rewarded Subrahmanya handsomely ; 
and since, being a tributary vassal of the Peddapuram 
Eajah, he did not possess the power to try the prisoners, 
he made them over to the custody of the royal police, 
appointed Subrahmanya captain of the corps, and 
despatched them to H. H. Krishna Jagapati, the 
Maharajah of Peddapuram, for trial. 

When Subrahmanya was setting out on his journey 
to Peddapuram, just as he reached the street door, a 
poor lizard fell upon him from the ceiling. He imme- 
diately postponed his departure, and summoned the 
village priest to ascertain the consequences of the 
lizard's fall. This personage soon bustled in, palm 
leaf almanac in hand, and announced that as the 
reptile had not fallen on his head, his life was in no 
danger ; and further stated that if he would bathe, offer 
a lighted lamp, and give a little gold to some Brahman 
or other, no ill effects would result from the fall of the 
lizard. Subrahmanya at once took a full bath, placed 
a few coppers in the hands of the priest himself with 
the remark that copper contained gold, repeated the 
gayatri* and set out with the determination of reach- 
ing Peddapuram that day how hot soever it might be, 

* The chief Brahminical mantra or incantation, which is supposed 
to possess peculiar efficacy. 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 153 



CHAPTEE XII. 

Ramarajah, with the assistance of Subbarayadu, brings back Sita — 
Ramarajah finds Rajasekhara in Prison — Rajasekhara's Release from 
Confinement — Sobhanadri-rajah is Punished — -Subbarayadu proves 
to be Rukiuini, and relates her Adventures. 

At a distance of ten or twelve miles from Peddapuram 
is a village called Jaggampeta. At high noon of the 
day on which Sita was abducted, two persons came to 
the house of the karanam of this village and shouted 
to the inmates to open the door. At the summons a 
strikingly handsome lad of fourteen summers, who for 
some reason wore his hair long came from within, and, 
opening the door, demanded on what errand they had 
come. One of the two men at the door replied by 
asking whether they would for money give some food 
to a Brahman girl. On coming out the lad beheld a 
child of about eight years sitting on the pia^ with down- 
cast eyes, sobbing convulsively. One of the men stood 
close beside her trying to terrify her into silence. 
Observing the lad who had just oome from the house 
examining their countenances in a peculiar manner, 
the men asked him his name. 

'Subbarayadu,' he replied; and after studying the 
child's face closely for a few moments, asked ' Who is 
this little girl ? Where did you bring her from ? and 
where are you taking her to ?' 

' We live in Cocanada. This child is the daughter of 
our village karanam. Her name's Sitama. She's been 
staying with her sister in Peddapuram, and we're 
taking her home to her father's. She's setting up her 
tune because she doesn't want to come with us.' 

' No, no,' interrupted Sita, * these men are carrying 
me off.' 

' This is certainly not the road from Peddapuram to 
Cocanada,' remarked Subbarayadu ; * it looks as though 
what the little girl says is the truth.' 

While this dialogue was going on, someone suddenly 
ran up behind and seized the fellow who stood by Sita's 



154 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

side hy the juttw, Tpvilling him down and showering a 
rattling fusilade of blows upon his back. The second 
man seeing this, deserted Sita and his comrade and 
displayed all the agility he possessed in running away. 
The individual who had just arrived shouted ' Don't 
let him escape ! Don't let him escape !' and released 
the fellow he had hold of to pursue him who was run- 
ning away. The second one perceiving this to be his 
chance fled in the opposite direction, and showed him- 
self to be the better man of the two. After he had 
pursued this man for some distance the stranger re- 
turned to the place where Sita sat. No sooner did she 
see him than she cried out, 

' Oh, Eamarajah ! How good of you to deliver me 
from the hands of those thieves. Won't you take me 
home to my mother, too V 

' Don't cry, dear; I'll set you down at home ere sun- 
down.' 

' Eajah,' asked Subbarayadu, ' where are this little 
one's parents ? They long regarded me as their own 
child r 

' If that's so, do you know this little girl ?' 

' I do. She's Rajasekhara's second daughter. This 
little girl, myself, and her elder brother used to regard 
one another as brothers and sisters. Her elder sister 
and I, especially, were so intimate that we scarcely 
knew each other apart. This little one has forgotten 
me, I think.' 

' The child's parents are now in Bhimavaram. If you 
are so deeply indebted to their kindness, why not come 
along with me and take the girl to her people ?' 

' I'll come at all odds. Stay here a moment until I 
run into the house and tell our people of my intention 
and return,' said Subbarayadu, as he disappeared within. 
There he related the whole story, saying that he would 
set the child down safely in Bhimavaram and return as 
quickly as possible. Although the whole family pro- 
tested strongly against this, he refused to listen to 
them ; whereupon they accompanied him to the street 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 155 

door and saw him off, with many affectionate charges 
that he was to hurry back. Ramarajah, astonished at 
the lad's beauty, thouglit within himself how delightful 
it would be were such loveliness only found in woman. 
As soon as the object of his thoughts appeared, 
Ramarajah lifted the little givl upon his shoulder and 
took the road for Bhimavaram, conversing with Sub- 
barayadu. 

' It's very singular,' said he, ' that you, a Brahman, 
wear your hair so long.' 

' I'm under a vow to Venkatesvara. On the strength 
of that vow I do not remove the coat and other 
garments I have on, even at meal times. When my 
clothes get soiled I put on clean ones in some room, 
with the utmost secrecy, without anyone knowing it. 
By the help of God I've kept this vow unbroken up to 
the present moment.' 

'Your vow is a most singular one. I never heard of 
or saw one like it before.' 

Chatting in this manner, they reached a small village, 
near Bhimavaram, a couple of hours after lamplight. 
As the road beyond was in a bad condition, and they 
heard that a large tiger had carried off a man just out- 
side the village a couple of days before, Ramarajah 
concluded that it would not be judicious to take them 
farther in the dark, and found them a lodging for the 
night at the house of a farmer in the place. There were 
no Brahmans in the village, so they got no dinner that 
night. But Ramarajah went to the house of a merchant 
and procured some parched rice ; and as the people at 
whose house they lay kept cows, he begged of them a 
dish of thick buttermilk, and gave it to his companions. 
After appeasing their hunger somewhat with this frugal 
fare, they lay down upon a rush mat supplied by their 
host, and were soon wrapped in profound slumber. 
Rousing them a good three hours before daylight, 
liamajarah conducted the party on their way to Bhima- 
varam ; but just as they reached the outskirts of the 
village, he pretended to have suddenly recollected some 



156 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

business of importance that he had up to that moment 
entirely forgotten, and informing his companions that 
he had some work on hand that must be attended to at 
once, showed them the road, and hurried off by a side 
path. 

The pair inquired the way for some little distance 
together ; but as soon as Sita reached a street that she 
knew, she started on a run, leaving Subbarayadu behind, 
and, turning into an alley, made straight for home. 
Unable in the dark to discover which alley Sita had 
entered, Subbarayadu walked straight on to the main 
street and wandered about the town, unable to find the 
house. On reaching the street door of her father's 
house, Sita called to those within, and Manikyamba, 
who was lying awake upon her couch, unable to sleep for 
sorrow, started up and came running to open the door. 
Immediately Sita rushed into her mother's arms and 
burst into tears. Manikyamba, too, unable to restrain 
her tears, wept for a while ; then wiped away the drops 
from her daughter's eyes with the end of her cloth, and 
asked where she had been since yesterday, and how she 
had been able to return alone in the dark. Sita told 
her how, early the previous morning, two kidnappers had 
carried her off; how Eamarajah and another young man 
had rescued her and brought her back ; and how 
Eamarajah had left them, just at the entrance to the 
village, on the plea of having some business to attend to. 
But what, asked Manikyamba anxiously, had become of 
the other young man ? The daughter replied that he 
had accompanied her as far as the next street ; that he 
was a person who had known them all before ; and that 
he would be along shortly. While Manikyamba was 
thus talking with Sita, who was perched upon her knee, 
it became daylight. Just then someone at the street 
door asked ' where Eajasekhara's house was.' Manik- 
yamba overheard the inquiry, and thinking the voice 
aounded like Eukmini's, she put Sita down from her lap, 
reached the street door at a bound, and cried out, ' Who's 
there ?' The moment Subbarayadu caught sight of 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 157 

her, he cried ' mother !' and falling on her neck, began 
to sob aloud. A moment later the three disappeared 
within. 

While Eajesekhara, the same day he was thrown into 
prison, was sitting sorrowfully apart, a convict, past the 
prime of life, shuffled by in his fetters, and, after gazing 
a moment into Rajasekhara's face, approached him and 
sat down. 

' What's your name ?' asked Rajasekhara, 

' My name's Papayya,' replied the convict ; * our 
family name is Manchirajah. Have you any recollec- 
tion of ever seeing me before ?' 

' Your face certainly does look as though I had seen 
it somewhere before ; but I can't for the life of me 
think where it was. What relation is Manchirajah 
Padmarajah to you ?' 

' You saw me under t\\& juvvi tree at Black Lake. I 
was then disguised as a byragi, and so you have failed 
to recognize me. Padmarajah is my son.' 

' By what turn of fortune have you been reduced from 
your former position to such a state as this, and in so 
short a time ?' 

' Through the mistake of making friends with this 
Sobhanadri-rajah I fell into his power. This Rajah gave 
me four mates and made me their captain, and sent us 
to the Black Lake to plunder the roads. After the 
hillsman, Ramareddi, and his gang were captured and 
hanged to the branches of the trees by the Rajah, we 
had it all to ourselves, and for two months were famous 
for our highway robberies. Sobhanadri-rajah got half the 
booty ; half of the remaining half fell to my share ; while a 
quarter of tlie sum total was divided among themselves 
by the four other fellows. I palmed myself off as a 
yogi. My companions spent the day at a distance in. 
the jungle, and came in at night to get their instruc- 
tions. When it was necessary to send them any 
message by day, I despatched the mountaineer who lived 
in the hut. I paid him myself, independent of the 
others/ 



158 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

' He's the one, isn't he, who took his bow and arrows 
and came with me that day V 

' Yes ; the pot-bellied chap's the very one. On the 
very night I sent them after you, one of the four was 
killed. The Eajah got wind of it somehow, and the 
next morning, before daylight, along came the Eoyal 
police, and, first of all, seized me and the mountaineer. 
Then they beat the hillsman, and he disclosed where the 
others were hid ; so they captured them, too, and brought 
the M'hole lot of us to the liajah. He threw us all into 
prison. There we were punished, of course ; but we 
didn't split on our Eajah for all that. So he allows us 
to go about as we please in prison here, and regards us 
with special favour.' 

' In that case Sobhanadri-rajah is doing you a great 
kindness.' 

' What kindness ? It is through this villain that we 
are suffering here in goal. But, sooner or later, the 
Maharajah will discover his villany, and consign him to 
this beautiful abode to keep us company. Then, when 
another gaolor comes, the Lord only knows what we'll 
have to undergo.' 

' 'Twas for no other reason than because I wouldn't 
give my daughter to your son, I'd have you know, that 
he put me in here.' 

' Yes ; I know all about it. Padmarajah was here 
with me that time the Eajah sent to call him when you 
were with him. The whole thing was a plan arranged 
by me, my son, tlie Rajah, and the astrologer together. 
But your days are lucky, and so our little plan didn't 
succeed. Sobhanadri-rajah intended taking the chains 
off two of the fellows who used to be with me at Black 
Lake, and send them somewhere this morning.' 

* Did you not learn where to V 

' No ; I didn't find out. This morning the Eajah 
came here to consult me about something, but his younger 
brother happened in. and so he moved otf, saying he'd tell 
me to-night. A while ago I did you a great wrong; now 
I'll make it even by doing you a right. The Maharajah 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 159 

of Peddapuram is a most excellent man. If you were 
to write a petition to the effect that Sobhanadri-rajah 
is keeping you confined in this way, he'd release you 
instanter. I'll fetch you paper and that ;' and Papayya, 
as good as his word, soon returned with the necessary 
writing materials. Without delay Eajasekhara wrote 
a petition, which he folded and gummed and handed to 
Papayya, who sent it by a special messenger to the 
Maliarajah. Two or three days passed away, but no 
order nor any sign that he would grant Eajasekhara a 
trial and justice came from the Eajah. Eajasekhara 
concluded that, as it was a charge against a relative of 
the Eajah's, no reply would be forthcoming, and dis- 
missed the matter from his thoughts. 

Early on the morning of the day after Sita was kid- 
napped, a rumour got afloat in the prison that the Maha- 
rajah was coming to inspect the premises. A little later 
Eamarajah came into the cell where Eajasekhara was 
confined. 

'Eamarajah,' cried Eajasekhara, 'you must forgive 
my blunder. Your bringing the letter that night proved 
a blessing in disguise to us. 1 was unable to see through 
the affair at the time, and abused you unjustly.' 

' It's time you said so in return for the service I did 
you. You evinced such good sense as almost to pre- 
vent me ever doing a charitable deed again !' 

' P)e merciful to me and forget that matter, I beg. I 
was beside myself at the time at the thought that we 
had missed a capital match, and said I know not what. 
Forgive me.' 

• They say the Maharajah is on his way here to 
inspect the prison, so I must be off at once,' said Eama- 
rajah as he took his departure. 

About an hour later a be-badged attendant entered 
the cell, and bade Eajasekhara follow him, saying that 
the Maharajah was holding court, and had summoned 
Eajasekhara because of a certain petition he had written. 
Arrived at the hall, Eajasekhara beheld the Maharajah 
seated upon a jewelled throne, decked in all his regalia. 



l6o FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

In the royal presence stood the lictors, bearing in their 
hands golden fasces. At the sides of the throne were 
two attendants waving rich choiuries or fans ; and a 
bodyguard fully armed. On one side stood Sobhanadri- 
rajah, with clasped hands ; on the other, two other men, 
whose hands were bound. When Eajasekhara at last 
stood before him, the Maharajah Krishna Jagapati asked 
if he had not written a petition in the royal name 
against Sobhanadri-rajah, there present. Eajasekhara, 
fearful of the consequences of his act, and trembling in 
every limb, remained mute, unable to answer a word. 

* Sobhanadri - rajah,' proceeded his Highness, ' we 
happen to know of the many injustices you have done 
Eajasekhara here. Simply because he refused to sacri- 
fice his daughter to a base wretch, one of your familiars, 
you not only cast him into prison, but called to your 
aid, and instigated two men from the prison to abduct 
the child. 

' I know nothing whatever about the persons who 
abducted the child your Highness speaks of,' replied 
Sobhanadri-rajah. 

' If you have no knowledge of the matter, how did 
these men, who were yesterday in the prison, succeed 
in getting out V 

' Yesterday morning these fellows scaled the wall, 
and escaped. Ever since then I have been sending 
men in all directions for their apprehension.' 

' What you, Guravu ! Did this man send you any- 
where, or did you effect your escape yourselves by 
scaling the wall V 

'Most gracious master, yesterday his honour the 
Eajah, here, summoned us, and bade us carry off the 
girl to Eavanakkapeta, and there deliver her to Padma- 
rajah. Padmarajah went on ahead, and was waiting 
there to marry the girl underhanded as soon as she 
arrived.' 

' No, no,' broke in Sobhanadri-rajah ; ' these low-born 
thieves ran off, and are lying in this way to shield them- 
selves.' 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. l6l 

' This Eajah's the ringleader of the thieves !' pro- 
ceeded Guravu excitedly ; ' he used to get us to rob the 
roads, and then wouldn't give us our pay properly, and 
got us into all sorts of scrapes. It grieves me merely 
to think of what we suffered the night we tried to rob 
this brahman.' 

' Did you use to rob the roads as he says V demanded 
the Maharajah, turning to Sobhanadri-rajah. 

' Never, never ! These sons of widows are lying.' 

* Call Papayya, and see whether what we've said 
isn't true. He's close by in the prison here.' 

* Call Papayya there,' commanded the Rajah. 

After a little, in came Papayya, and on the Maharajah 
giving his word that his punishment would be materi- 
ally diminished if he spake the truth, he narrated the 
whole affair, from the very beginning. Sobhanadri- 
rajah gazed at the floor in silence, unable to utter a 
word in reply. Rajasekhara, observing that the Maha- 
rajah's features and form bore a remarkable resemblance 
to those of Ramarajah, broke into a cold sweat, and 
gazed about him, pale and bewildered. His Highness 
marked his pallor and agitation, and descending from 
the throne took him graciously by the hand, and 
explained that he who had so often come to their house 
to inquire after their welfare was no other than himself, 
and that although well able to help them, he had 
delayed doing so for a while in order to put their 
character to the test He then turned to his attendants 
and ordered Rajasekhara's immediate release. For a 
few moments Rajasekhara was unable to collect his 
thoughts sufficiently to reply ; but as his fear wore off 
he gradually found voice, and prayed in quavering 
accents, and with deep humility, that ' His lord would 
forgive him for regarding him as a common man, and 
treating him with disrespect through ignorance of his 
real estate, and for uttering abusive words when angry 
that Sita's marriage had been frustrated.' His High- 
ness replied that the matter had never presented itself 
to hini in any other light than that, and after graciously 

11 



i62 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

inviting Rajasekhara to visit him the next day in Pedda- 
puram, sent him home. 

After Eajasekhara's departure, the Maharajah sum- 
moned Sobhanadri-rajah, recounted at length his evil 
deeds, and reprimanded him severely. Although for 
his crimes he should have been condemned to a punish- 
ment of unusual rigour, the Eajah with excessive leni- 
ency assigned him only a month's imprisonment, and 
handed him over to the custody of the constables. 
Besides this, since he had promised the two men who 
carried Sita off, when he had himself captured and 
brought them back, that their punishment should be 
somewhat lessened if they would tell the whole truth, 
he not only diminished their sentence by half, but was 
equally lenient to Padmarajah. Having disposed of 
this business, Sri Krishna Jagapati IMaharajah mounted 
a superb elephant, and, amid the panegyrics and plaudits 
of his heralds and bards, the rolling of drums and 
tabrets, and the braying of wind instruments, proceeded 
in state to his capital, attended by all his regal retinue. 
When Eajasekhara reached home, Manikyamba was 
sitting leaning against the wall of the west room, talking 
to Subbarayadu, with downcast head. On reaching the 
street-door, Eajasekhara perceived with astonishment 
that the lad's features, as well as his voice, resembled 
those of Eukmini; but, observing the ]ad to be in male 
attire, he knew not what to think, and instead of enter- 
ing the house, stood rooted to the spot, gazing fixedly in 
his perplexity at the lad's face. Just then Sita peeped 
out of doors, and shouting, ' Oh, mother ! papa's come,' 
ran to her father and embraced him. 

Filled with the utmost delight at the news, Maniky- 
amba rose immediately, and brought water and laved 
her husband's feet, wiped them dry with the end of her 
cloth, and placed a stool near the wall for him to sit 
upon. Seating himself on this, Eajasekhara kissed 
Sita, and took her upon his knee. Then Manikyamba 
told him how kidnappers had carried Sita off, and how 
Eamarajah and another lad had rescued her and brought 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 163 

her back. Rajasekhara in turn told them that Eama- 
rajah was the Maharajah Krishna Jagapati, sovereign 
ruler of Peddapuram ; that he was in the habit of going 
about in disguise to acquaint himself with the condition 
of his subjects; and that, coming to them under the 
name Ramarajah, he had done them a great kindness, 
and had, to crown all, just released him from prison. 
Then he related the events which had led to his deliver- 
ance, and expatiated at length on the admirable quali- 
ties of their sovereign lord. Manikyaraba's astonish- 
ment knew no bounds when she heard that Ramarajah 
was their Rajah ; and she lauded his lack of pride and 
magnanimity of disposition to the skies. 

In the very midst of this conversation, Subbarayadu 
approached and fell at Rajasekhara's feet with the 
exclamation, ' I am Rukmini.' Unable for a moment 
to speak for excessive joy, he at length calmed himself 
and arose and embraced his long lost daughter. The 
parents' joy at the restoration of one whom they had 
mourned as dead was too great for description. At 
such a moment they were wholly unable to restrain 
their feelings ; but after the vehemence of their emotion 
had somewhat subsided, they begged Rukmini to relate 
to them all that had befallen her from the day she left 
them up to that moment. The story of her adventures 
Rukmini then proceeded to tell as follows : 

' When I came to myself and looked about me the 
night the robbers attacked us, the moon was shining 
brightly, and the whole surface of the clearing shone as 
though flour had been spread over it to dry — but, to 
my horror, I lay stretched upon the bare earth in the 
midst of the jungle. Peer about me as I would on 
every hand, not a human form could I discern any- 
where. Not a trace of man was to be seen, and only 
the roaring of wild beasts fell upon my ears. Just 
then a tiger sprang from the thicket close beside me, 
but without seeing me, and dragged off the trunk of a 
man which lay near. At the sight I fainted away, but 
after I had partially regained consciousness, I noticed 

11—2 



i64 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

that none of you were near, and believing that if you 
were alive you would not leave me alone in such a 
place, I concluded that you had been killed by the 
robbers, and that the wild beasts had made away with 
your bodies ; and having no friend to whom to look 
nor god to whom to pray, I resolved to seek death. 
Then the thought occurred to me that self-destruction 
is sin ; and thinking that perhaps some of you might 
still be alive and that I might again be blessed with a 
sight of you, I abandoned the attempt to take my life, 
and rose to my feet and walked a few steps. Just then 
I caught sight of a head lying near smeared with gore, 
and a bundle of clothes close beside it. Although in 
such imminent peril of my life I was tormented by an 
unendurable hunger, and, picking up the bundle, I 
opened it and examined the contents in hope of finding 
something to eat. But it contained only clothes such as 
men wear. No sooner did I see these than it occurred 
to me that it was unsafe for a good-looking woman 
to go about alone undisguised, and that I might reach 
some village in safety by assuming man's dress. So I 
put on the clothes, including the coat, and soon stood 
in complete male costume. My own clothes I tied in 
a bundle with what remained in the one I had found, 
took off all the jewelry I had upon my person, tied it in 
a corner of my cloth, and started. After following a 
footpath until daybreak, I reached a village. Here I 
remained a day, obtained a little money by selling my 
jewels, and then, though in terrible agony from the 
wound in my head, went on to another village near. 
In this place I stopped several days for the sake of 
medical assistance. After getting a little better I 
started again, and after wandering about in all the 
villages of that vicinity and taking my meals at inns, 
about ten days ago I reached Jaggampeta. The karanatn 
of the • place was old and without a son. He took a 
fancy to me as soon as he saw me, and thinking that I 
might be helpful to him in his work, he made me wel- 
come to his home. He was greatly pleased with my 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 165 

behaviour, and inquired my caste and family with the 
intention of marrying his only daughter to me and of 
keeping me permanently by him. I assumed the name 
of Subbarayadu, and while there remained faithful to 
my benefactors and assisted in the writing of accounts 
and other papers by means of the education you had 
given me. I told them that my people had made me 
wear my hair long because of a vow to Venkatesvara — 
that I must not anoint my head until that vow was ful- 
filled — and that I was not to change the clothes I wore 
in the presence of others. I got them to agree to help 
me preserve my vow inviolate, and exercised the great- 
est caution that my disguise might not be penetrated. 

' While things were moving on in this way, one day 
at noon a couple of men brought Sita to the house where 
I lived and asked us to give them a meal. Just then 
the Eajah to whom we gave water and saved his life, 
came up and beat them and drove them away. So I 
took leave of the people of the house, and, with the 
Eajah, brought Sita back home. All along the road I 
thought I wouldn't tell any of you that I was Rukmini 
until you recognised me and found it out for yourselves. 
But when I saw mother I couldn't restrain myself. 
My grief overflowed, and I clasped her in my arms and 
let the whole secret out.' 

When Kukmini had finished this narrative, Rajasek- 
hara, vastly pleased at his daughter's sense and bravery, 
took her to his heart and caressed her fondly. 

Let none who read this story of Rukmini declare it 
impossible to believe the statement that a mere girl of 
fourteen summers, who had lived so dutiful a daughter 
as never to cross the threshold of her home nor set foot 
even in the next street of her own village, could resort 
to a device so indicative of courage and good sense, 
assume so impenetrable a disguise, and maintain her 
incognito in a manner most difficult, even for women 
of mature age and long experience in the ways of the 
world. Let who will believe, or disbelieve ; since it is 
the duty of the historian to speak the truth without 



l66 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

qualification, I narrate the event as it occurred. This 
book contains no impossible tales of men assuming the 
forms of deer, or of their being completely metamor- 
phosed into women, as in the puranic fables. Her 
preceptress in such extraordinary conduct was none 
other than Sarasvati* herself whose protection she 
sought. And who that knows the power of education, 
will express surprise at this as being a remarkable 
performance ? 

CHAPTER XIII. 

Sankarayya arrives with the Coin Necklace — He relates his Father's 
Misadventure — Procession of the Vaishnava gurus — The Return of 
Xrusimhaswami — He relates his Story. 

While Rukmini and her parents were conversing in 
the manner related above, a lad of some fourteen 
summers came in, and throwing aside the bundle of 
cloths he carried on his shoulder, fell at Eajasekhara's 
feet with the exclamation ' Alas, father-in-law !' and 
burst into tears. 

* What, Sankarayya,' remonstrated Eajasekbara ; 
' crying like a girl ! Shut up.' 

'My father died fifteen years ago,' sobbed the lad, 
* and I wasn't at home at the time, either.' 

' What did he die of ? and where were you that you 
were not in the place then V 

' He did not die a natural death. He came to his end 
through the burning down of the house. As much as 
ten days before it happened I had taken my stepmother 
to Ellore. While I was there I got the news of his 
death.' 

' Tell me fully how the house was burned, and why 
he was unable to leave it.' 

' While you were still in the village, my father was 
celebrated for his witch-doctoring, you remember. 
Afterwards his fame spread in the surrounding villages 
as well. If in any house anyone so much as got a 

* The Goddess of Wisdom. 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 167 

little fever, they'd call my father to administer holy 
water. If anyone but had a twinge in his toe, he'd get 
father to apply an amulet. If any person was thought 
possessed, father was called in. If anyone but got 
afraid, he'd have father apply sacred ashes. In short, 
it mattered not what the complaint was, among all the 
villages of the vicinity there wasn't a single one to 
which they didn't summon father. For this reason 
people brought all sorts of articles to our house and 
presented them to facher with the most implicit faith 
in his healing powers. !N"o matter in whose house any 
festivity took place, the first gift was always father's. 

' Things moved on in this way for some time. One 
morning, while father was walking along the street, he 
saw by a toddy-drawer's door a cocoa-nut tree loaded 
with bunches of green fruit. He called the owner of 
the house and asked him to send around a few tender 
nuts in the husk. The fellow was an impudent prig, 
and replied that when father fetched the money for the 
nuts he'd get them. At this father flew into a terrible 
rage, and abused the fellow right roundly because he 
wouldn't give him the nuts. " I'll give you no nuts ; 
but I'll look out for what you'll do to me in your 
spite," declared the toddy-drawer, not yielding an inch. 
" Look out for your tree — see what'll happen to it by 
this time to-morrow," cried father, with a significant 
shake of his head as he turned away and walked home. 
" Oh," replied the other, as he went into the house, " I'll 
not forget your threat to raise fiends and kill it." 

* About twelve o'clock that night my father woke me 
out of a sound sleep, and bidding me tie up a gill of 
rice in the end of my cloth and fetch the washing cup 
along in my hand, he started out into the dark and 
bade me follow him. It was the dead of night, and so 
dark that you couldn't see your hand before you. But 
by feeling our way along we at last reached the toddy- 
drawer's house, where we stopped. Telling me to stay 
there a moment, my father fastened a strap to his feet, 
and speeling up the cocoa-nut tree, smashed open the 



i68 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

3'oung shoot with a stick, poured into it the rice and 
water I had brought, and came down as noiselessly as 
he went up. When we reached home again it was mid- 
night, and my father laid down and enjoyed a sound 
sleep. The next day he began to announce to every- 
body who came to the house " that he had bewitched 
the toddy-man's cocoa-nut tree, because he had refused 
him some nuts." To support his assertion, from that 
very day the root shrivelled, the leaves withered, and in 
five or six days the tree died. The toddy-drawer then 
began to raise a row, and to inform everybody " that the 
Brahman had got mad at him because he wouldn't give 
him some green nuts, and had, without any reason 
whatever, bewitched his tree and killed it." In a very 
short time this report spread to the adjacent villages, 
and on the strength of it all the people began to regard 
my father with suspicion. 

' A little later someone in the place fell sick, and 
some suspected that my father had bewitched him. 
So, when the townsfolk had any sickness in their 
houses, they ceased calling my father as frequently as 
before. Yet in their hearts they feared what he might 
do if they didn't call him. In the meantime a 
merchant's child fell ill, and his mother and great 
grandmother went and consulted an oracle. The Pariah 
woman, who had charge of the Temple of Parantala, 
thereupon declared that someone in the place had 
bewitched the child. So the two of them came home 
crying and told the men the whole story. They at 
once came to the conclusion that the person who had 
bewitched the child was, without doubt, my father, and 
called in witch doctors, and did their very best to cure 
the young one. But they didn't happen to hit upon the 
right prescription for the disease under treatment ; and, 
besides, the witch doctors took to giving the child 
frequent baths while the fever was at its height, and so 
the lad gave up the ghost and paid the debt of nature. 
Prom that time all the villagers were possessed with 
the notion that my father was bewitching and killing 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 169 

everybody. As an aid to the spread of this illusion, 
two old widows of the place took to impersonating those 
who had before died in the village, and shrieking that 
they had come to their end through witchcraft, and 
that their folk, unable to discover the true state of their 
case, had been deceived into thinking them sick, and so 
had lost them. Besides this, Kamesvara and other 
household gods inspired the widows of several families, 
who began to declare when anyone fell ill that it 
was the effect of enchantment. For these reasons, no 
matter who was taken down with disease in the place, 
the people were deluded into believing the whole thing 
to be simply the result of my father's incantations. It 
mattered not that father averred again and again upon 
his oath that he was wholly innocent of any fault ; there 
was not one who credited his asseverations. It was 
simply impossible to describe the craze that took 
possession of the people ! They believed for a certainty 
that all who died in the place came to their end by my 
father's enchantments. All the invalids, they thought, 
were suffering from no other cause than my father's 
magic power. In consequence, the villagers in a little 
while came to regard father as a sort of local death-god. 
Whenever he showed his face, the females of the place 
fell to reviling him and snapping their fingers at him 
in derision. The men, with angry looks, gave him the 
cold shoulder, and, as soon as he appeared, got out of 
the way and slipped down the back alleys. The neigh- 
bours even stopped giving him live coals with which to 
start his tires. If he went to borrow anything, they 
replied they hadn^t got it. Those who lived next door, 
absolutely declined to allow him to draw water from 
their well. Living thus in the very midst of the enemy 
became most trying to poor father ; but knowing that the 
whole affair was undoubtedly the evil fruit of his assum- 
ing the guise of a witch doctor, he bore it all without 
the least sign of regret, or grumbling at the consequence 
of his own guilt. One day, while matters were in this 
condition, my stepmother fell sick ; and, notwithstanding 



I70 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

our most earnest entreaties, not one was there in 
the place who would come to give her nourishment and 
drink, or to stand by and talk to her to prevent her 
falling asleep. None of the villagers would so much as 
allow us to fetch water from their wells for cooking and 
drinking. It was only the fourth day after you left the 
place that Nambi Varudacharya, who had so long acted 
as village doctor, died. You remember after you 
dismissed Nati Eamayya for stealing the two copper 
drinking cups and giving them to the prostitute while 
working as Brahman cook in our house, that he lived by 
keeping school, since he was good for nothing else in 
the world ? Well, no sooner did Varudacharya die, than 
this fellow began the practice of medicine as well, and 
he's now the most celebrated physician in the place. 
When he first began to practice he was a new liand, so 
he used to get my father himself to write down for him 
the names of diseases and of drugs. He would sort 
the latter into red and black vials and fetch them to 
father, to ascertain what colour belonged to a certain 
medicine, when he would label them " Else of the Full 
Moon," " Eheumatic Eradicator," and the like. In our 
house, too, he prepared his pills, mixing red lead with 
such substances as cummin, fennel, and black pepper, 
and reducing them with lime juice. It mattered not 
what medicine you wanted ; he'd never say he hadn't it 
in stock, but would hand it over at the modest charge 
of from one to twenty rupees per ounce. Of the money 
he made at the commencement of his practice, he gave 
my father a share ; but after he had acquired the re- 
putation of being a great physician, when my father fell 
out with the people of the place, he ceased giving this. 
Though father afterwards went in person and begged 
him to come and see his sick wife, he was so mean a 
fellow that, through fear of the populace, he wouldn't 
call even once. The truth is, the villagers gave all the 
trouble that lay in their power. They began to shower 
clods of earth upon the roof after dark. Leaving me 
to look after his wife, father would go to the tank, and. 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 171 

after having his bath, fetch the water, prepare the food, 
and give her some nourishment by midday, worrying 
himself nearly to death in the meantime over the 
kindnesses you had done him, and the fact that, were 
you in the place, he would certainly not suffer such 
persecution. After prolonged sufferings mother-in-law 
got somewhat better, but for some reason did not seem 
to regain her proper strength. The opposition of the 
villagers grew worse and worse. By the time we looked 
out of a morning, our doorway was usually heaped with 
dirty rubbish and human skulls. These my father 
would remove, bathing two or three times a day. And 
as his wife hadn't proper attention there, he placed her 
under my care and sent her to her home in Hailpuram 
in a palanquin, remaining behind himself to look after 
the house. 

' On the night of the day after we started, about two 
hours after dark, we arrived safely in EUore. Here the 
food and cooking agreed with my mother. Her parents, 
too, showed her every kindness ; and in a very short 
time she became convalescent. One day my step- 
mother's brother and I were sitting on a jpial, some two 
feet high, built in the form of a circle about a ravi tree 
in the street — my stepmother^s father had married a 
ravi and a margosa, you see, and had built this great 
pial around them — the village karanam always trans- 
acted his business on this pial in the shade of the tree. 
Well, one morning while we were sitting here cleaning 
our teeth, up came a dark-complexioned Sudra, about 
thirty years of age, dressed in white clothes, and with a 
bundle stuck under his arm, and asked, " would we buy 
a coin necklace ?" Where is it ?" asked my uncle ; " let 
us see it." The Sudra sat down on the pial, and, 
opening his bundle, produced a necklace, which he 
handed to my uncle. After examining it, he asked the 
price, and handed it over to me to see whether it was 
of value or not. No sooner had I taken it in my hand 
and examined it, than I recognized it as Rukmini's by 
the big gem. " Where did you get this ?" I asked. 



172 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

"" I am a trader," he replied, " and had a workman in 
my native place weave it with silk." At that I asserted 
that the necklace belonged to a relative of mine ; '' and 
as you have stolen goods on you, I'll hand you over to 
the police," I added, to frighten him. But he manifested 
not the slightest fear. He dashed the necklace down at 
our feet, and went off crying that " he'd go to the station 
and enter a complaint against us, and bring the 
constables and have us arrested." I stayed in the place 
two whole days longer, but I saw nothing more of 
him. 

' Early on the morning of the third day after this 
event a cooly arrived from Dhavalesvaram with a letter 
for me, sent by Eamamurti. On opening and reading 
it I learned the sad news that on that very day father's 
house had taken fire, and that he had been burned to 
death. I was to come as quick as possible, the letter 
added. Heartbroken at this intelligence, for it was sudden 
as a thunder-clap, I went into the house weeping, and 
communicated the bad news to my stepmother. No 
sooner did she hear it than she fell upon the floor and 
began to roll about with dishevelled hair, thumping her 
bosom, and shrieking like to lift the roof. After her 
shrieks and sobs had somewhat abated I consoled her 
as well as I could, and taking the cooly along with me 
started at once. I walked so hard until dawn the 
following morning that I blistered my feet, but finally 
reached home at midday. Of the house, nothing 
remained but the bare walls. Strange to say, not one 
of the adjoining houses had been touched — ours alone 
falling a prey to Parasu Eama. While I was standing 
gazing at the ruins, some of the neighbours came up 
and sought to console me. Four days before, they said, 
the house had suddenly caught fire in the night, and ere 
assistance could arrive, had burned to the ground, I 
then went to Narayanamurti's house. Ever since you 
left the place my father and Nara5'anamurti had been 
bosom friends. A month after you left Dhavalesvaram 
thieves broke into Narayanamurti's house and robbed 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 173 

him of his entire fortune in a single night. He was 
thus again reduced to poverty, and began to court my 
father's favour. Father sent him about as an assistant 
in his jDractice, and gave him in return a small allow- 
ance for his meals. When the villagers became father's 
enemies, Narayanamurti alone remained faithful to him. 
Your brother-in-law now became afraid that the villagers 
would rob his house ; so one night, bidding me accom- 
pany him, he carried the box containing his jewels and 
cash secretly to Narayanamurti's house, where he de- 
posited it in his friend's bedroom, sealed it up, and, 
locking it with a padlock, retained the key in his own 
possession. When Narayanamurti saw me, the thought 
of my father's terrible fate rushed upon him, and, over- 
come by emotion, he cried : " And the box of jewels 
that you deposited with me for safe keeping — you even 
had to go and take that away just before your death !" 
I went into the bedroom, but no box was to be seen. 
Neither could I find a trace of it anywhere in the house. 
When I afterwards asked about my father's disease, 
Narayanamurti replied that from the time I went to 
Hailapuram, your brother-in-law, apprehending that 
someone would do him violence if he went into the 
street, remained closely indoors ; that after this had 
gone on for two or three days, a rumour got abroad in 
the town " that Damodarayya was sitting in his house 
with the doors shut, performing some mysterious Satanic 
burnt offering ;" that thereupon the whole body of vil- 
lagers took the matter into consideration and concluded 
that he was certainly repeating some diabolical incanta- 
tion to destroy them all, and called a council on the 
banks of the Godaveri in the belief that unless they 
could frustrate the effort they were done for ; and that 
the holocaust of the house and all the other mysterious 
circumstances connected with my father's death had 
occurred on the same night. I remained at his house 
until the ten days' obsequies were at an end, and as it 
would not do to start on the 13th, got off on the 14th, 
and was making ray way with the necklace to the 



174 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

village where you now live, when the astrologer turned 
up in the road. He took me aside a little way, and 
said he had a secret to tell me. After disclosing the 
fact that Narayanamurti had concealed our box of 
jewels in his house, he said that if we gave him a hun- 
dred rupees he would deliver the box to us instead of 
to him. He also added that as soon as I returned after 
seeing my father-in-law, I must enter a charge against 
Narayanamurti. I replied, "All right," and came on 
looking for you.' 

When Sankarayya had related his father's sad story 
as above, he untied his bundle, and taking from it a 
coin necklace, handed it to Eajasekhara. Receiving 
this, the latter embraced and consoled his nephew, and 
shed some tears of sorrov/ at the death of Damodarayya. 
Then the whole household wailed in concert for a 
moment for the dead, after which they had their bath 
and dined. The remainder of the afternoon was spent 
in telling and hearing news. 

Shortly after the lamps were lighted the sound of 
music was heard, and Eajasekhara and the others went 
into the street to ascertain what was going on. A 
Vaishnava priest, coated thickly with the twelve up- 
right marks, and accompanied by two attendants fan- 
ning him with huge fans, was seated in a palanquin, 
proceeding in state through the town amid the flaring 
of numerous torches. Behind him walked several Tela- 
ganyas, and a solitary Vaishnava, all plastered over with 
sandal-wood paste, and fanning themselves with palm- 
leaf fans. The Vaishnava Eajasekhara knew; so he 
called him over to where he was standing, and began 
conversing with him. 

' Aren't you priest to the Guduris down in Dhavales- 
varam V 

' I am. The Avasaralas of this place are disciples of 
him you see in the palanquin.' 

' But when I saw you last, weren't you the priest and 
he the disciple ?' 

* We don't recognise any such distinction as that 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 175 

among us. We change about, d'ye see. Where I've got 
disciples, he's my disciple ; and where he's got disciples, 
I'm his. His grandfather and mine were brothers. 
His father, Prativadi-bhayankara Gaudabherundacharya, 
was unrivalled the world over as a pandit. After our 
grandfathers and fathers had departed to Paradise, we 
divided the disciples these had made into equal lots. 
Those in this place fell to me, while those in Dliavales- 
varam fell to him. Once a year we leave Sri Kurmam, 
where we reside, and go the rounds among our followers 
after this fashion.' 

' You said before, didn't you, that he couldn't read ? 
How does he instruct his disciples ?' 

' I haven't a whit more education than he's got. 
What education is necessary to instruct one's disciples ? 
We whisper the ashtakshari* in their ears, bid them 
repeat it one hundred and eight times a day, tell them 
that if they trust and serve their priest as their only 
god, heaven is ready won, brand them upon the 
shoulders, and take our gratuity and go our way. We 
argue with nobody, so everybody considers us pandits 
for certain.' 

* Do you propose remaining several days in the 
place V 

' We shan't stop. We'll be off to-morrow. But Pll 
call later on and have a chat at leisure,' said he, as he 
started off on the run to catch the palanquin. 

When the procession had passed, the men shut the 
street door and were about sitting down to their evening 
meal when some one approached the door and began 
calling for ' Rajasekhara ! Father-in-law !' On Mani- 
kyamba's going into the passage and asking who was 
there, ' I'm Nrusimhaswami,' replied a voice from with- 
out. No sooner had Manikyamba heard this statement 
and tjie name, then she rushed in terror and told 
her husband. ' Long as Nrusimhaswami has been dead, 
he has never even so much as appeared to me in my 
dreams ; what can be the meaning of this enmity now V 

* The ' five-syllabled ' mantra. 



176 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

queried she in terrified perplexity. The shouts at the 
street door were now repeated ; and as Eajasekhara had 
by this time finished his meal,* he lighted a lamp and 
started to open the door. When he had done so, sure 
enough Nrusimhaswami himself seized his hand with 
the exclamation ' Father-in-law !' He saw his son-in- 
law plainly enough ; but the poor man was unable to 
believe the evidence of his senses, and examined the 
new comer's person again and again. After making 
sure from the fact that the feet were in tlieir proper 
position and not reversed, that it was no wraith, he led 
the lad inside, where, telling his wife that it was un- 
doubtedly their jSTrusimhaswami come back to them 
again, he bade them hurry and provide some water for 
the traveller's feet. Even then it was only after bring- 
ing the lamp and examining his face closely that 
Manikyamba exclaimed ' My poor lad !' and embraced 
him with tears. Seeing her weep, the son-in-law burst 
into tears also. After this scene Nrusimhaswami 
washed his feet, and while eating his meal proceeded to 
relate the story of his pilgrimage to Kasi, of bis friend's 
deserting him on the way, and other adventures which 
had befallen him as follows : 

' I had long cherished the desire to make the pilgrim- 
age to Kasi, but had abandoned the idea as impracticable 
for me because of having no suitable companion. But 
one day the Chamartus boy Seshachalam came along, 
and after making me give him my word of honour not 
to tell anyone, confided to me as a secret that he wanted 
to do penance at the Himalaya mountains and acquire 
the art of transmuting metals. If I would come along 
too he would take me with him and teach me the art, 
and then when the two of us had got the recipe for 
making gold, we were to return home, manufacture all 
the gold we wanted, and so become millionaires. Excited 
by this view of the matter, I conceived a great desire 
to make at least the attempt ; and decided not only to 
start, but, if possible, to perform the whole journey into 

* A Brahmin never finishes an interrupted meal. 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 177 

the bargain. The two of us talked the matter over 
secretly in school ; and having agreed as to the day on 
which we should start, spent the intervening time in 
collecting our clothes and other articles needed in a 
safe place. Early one morning after breakfast, on the 
plea that we were going to the sastri's to repeat our 
assignment of verses, we got away, and by keeping 
straight on reached Peddapuram at sunrise the next 
morning. The day before that on which we started 
had been my birthday, and my people had made it a 
holiday and presented me with a gold collar and brace- 
lets. The same night I had opened my father's chest 
with a duplicate key and tied up some eighty-four 
rupees it contained in my pack, and the next day we 
left the village with these jewels and the cash. Sesha- 
chalam had brought with him only three rupees ; so all 
along the way I had to fork out whatever .money was 
needed for the pair of us. By the time we had passed 
Jagannadham and reached Kattak all the rupees I had 
by me were spent. There I disposed of my bracelets 
for forty-two rupees, and by curtailing expenses some- 
what managed to make this money do until we reached 
Kasi. The whole way he kept plaguing me to give him 
something to spend on his own account, but I would 
never let him have more than a rupee in his hands at 
once. At this he became sullen and got down in the 
mouth and would have nothing to say to me. On the 
whole he acted very shabbily. Wlien we reached Kasi 
I still had four rupees left, but in ten days' time this 
was all gone too. Then I sold my beautiful collar to a 
trader in Kasi for a hundred and lifty rupees. Instead 
of making gold as we had at first anticipated, we lost 
what gold we already possessed. Seshachalam lazied 
away his time on my money and without the slightest 
anxiety about his living. But not satisfied with that, 
even, he came to me one day and said he had occasion 
for fifty rupees, and would I give them to him ? I 
unfeelingly replied that I wouldn't. This led to a 
quarrel, and he went off at noon without even so much 

12 



/ 



173 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 



as touchirifT the food ready served for liis dinner, and 
abusinrj me as an ingrate. I spent four niontlis more 
in Kasi. Then I got homesick, and set out and worked 
my May slowly homewards. Yesterday morning I heard 
in Tuni that you were here.' 

When Nrusimhaswami had made an end of relating 
his adventures, Eajasekhara told him of the outrageous 
conduct of Seshaclialam,* after which he spread a bed 
i'or the weary lad, and, when he had lain down and 
dropped ofi" to sleep, himself retired to rest. 



CHAPTER XIV. 

Subrahmanya comes from Pitapiiram on a Visit to his Father — The 
Advent of Sri Sankaracharya — Niladri-rajah relates his Adventures 
before the Council — Maharajah Krushna Jagapati redeems and 
restores Rajasekhara's Lands. 

Subrahmanya set out from Pitapuram and came in 
company with the Eajah's constables, who escorted 
Niladri-rajah, with the money, as far as Bhimavaram, 
where, directing them to proceed to Peddapuram, he 
went alone direct to his father's house. When he 
arrived there, liajasekhara was just on the point of 
going to dinner. No sooner did the son set foot inside 
the street door, than his father caught sight of him and 
cried, ' The boy has come !' At this all the inmates of 
the house came running out together, crying : ' Where is 
he ? Where is he V Sita, however, outran the others, 
and was first to embrace her brother. Manikyamba 
next came up and was embraced by her son, who then 
knelt for his parents' blessing. While this was going 
on Nrusimhaswami also appeared on the scene, and 
seized Subrahmanya's hand, with the exclamation, 
* hallo, brother-in-law !' Subrahmanya recognized the 
voice and gazed into his face stupefied, then looked 
about from one to another of the group inquiringly. 
After a moment, however, he threw his arms about his 

* In announcing that his friend had died by the way. 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 179 

l)rother-in-]aw and asked wlien he had come; then, re- 
-calling his sister's sad fate, exclaimed : ' Alas, that it was 
not poor liukmini's lot to have the joy of hearing that 
her husband lives !' and burst into tears.' liajasekhara 
now^ came forward and consoled the lad, telling him that 
Itukmini was still alive ; and proceeded to relate what 
•dangers had befallen her after that night when they 
were attacked by highwaymen, and how she had finally 
reached home in safety. Long before this account of 
his sister's adventures was complete, Subrahmanya, 
unable longer to contain his joy, rushed into the room 
and embraced his sister, and, on her beginning to weep 
at sight of him, comforted her in turn. When he 
returned, Nrusindiaswami gave him along account of his 
adventures. Then all had their bath and sat down to 
their meal in new-washed cloths. During the dinner 
Subrahmanya told the wondering company of the 
burglary in the Rajah's palace at Pitapuram ; how he 
himself had caught the robbers ; how that among the 
articles recovered he had discovered their lost treasure 
carried off along ago by the hyragi ; and how he had 
been put in charge of tlie thieves who were sent to the 
Maharajah Krushna Jagapati for trial. He also added 
that the Pitapuram Rajah had promised him a capital 
situation as soon as he returned to that place. ' Why !' 
burst in Rajasekhara, ' the Ramarajah who used to come 
and go about our house is this very same Maharajah 
Krushna Jagapati ;' and he proceeded to inform his son of 
the Rajah's remarkable conduct and of the kindness he 
had shown him, and spoke of their benefactor in terms of 
the highest praise. Dinner was now at an end ; so they 
rose and washed their hands, had their betel and leaf, 
and put on clean cloths, when Rajasekhara and Subrah- 
manya took Nrusimhaswami along and set out on their 
way to Peddapuram. 

On reaching Peddapuram they were just about 
entering the main street, when, at a little distance, 
they espied a palanquin, preceded by an elephant, two 
Jiorses, a huge kettle-drum mounted upon a cart, with 

12—2 



l8o FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

other musical instruments, and, close behind, a multi- 
tude of followers. Seeing the procession, Eajasekhara 
supposed there must be some religious pageant in 
progress that day, and, turning to his son, asked whose 
feast it was, ' Siva's or Yishnu's V 

'This is not a religious festival,' replied Subrah- 
manya ; ' Sri Sankara Bhagavatpadula is visiting the 
town. He spent ten days in Peddapuram. Just as I 
was coming away I noticed that he had bandies and 
everything ready at the house for the journey to this 
place.' 

'Did the contributions amount to much there ?' 

* They footed up right handsomely. The priest sent 
pastoral letters to each house and collected money at 
the rate of a rupee a head. Besides this, lots of widows 
and rich folk used to go with trays of fruit and rupees 
and offer them for the sake of the privilege of worship- 
ping his feet. Whenever they prostrated themselves at 
full length, the Swami would say " Narayana !" while 
the disciples who stood near whisked away the contents 
of the trays and returned them empty to. their owners. 
The Yaidika Brahmans of the place clubbed together 
and made two entertainments ; four came off in the 
houses of the laymen ; and after that again the 
merchants made another in the house of a Brahman.' 

' Did you ever go and pay your respects to the 
throne V 

* Yes ; two or three times. Tlie throne is about as 
high as a man. It is completely covered with all sorts 
of figures and salagrams. The Swami always sits on a 
seat of silver filigree work, dressed in silk, and making 
2)ugah with saffron. I heard say, too, that the throne 
contains stri-yantra, and that even in his previous 
asrama "^ the Swami was a most ardent student of the 
stri-viaya. Whether this be true or not I can't say ; 
but, at all events, a fellow, who actually saw it happen,, 
told me in confidence that even now the Swami conceals 
his face of a dark night and sallies out with one of his 

* For uote on this word see chapter vi., page 70. 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. i8i 

people to perform his devotions to the first stri (woman) 
that he meets.* Besides what a disciple ran away 
with only the other day, there's still some two 
thousand rupees' worth of silver decorations about the 
throne V 

' While in the place, did he take any steps to prevent 
the intermixture of various castes, or to propagate his 
religion V 

' No, nothing of the kind ; but there was one capital 
thing he did. In that town there lives a wealthy young 
widow. Some of the chief men of the village 'panchiat, 
or local court, on some plea or other, excommunicated 
her from caste. But when she afterwards made a 
feast in honour of Jagannahda, some Brahmans who were 
greedy of gain partook of the good cheer. So it happened 
that they split into two parties — all who went to the 
dinner on the one side, and all who didn't go on the 
other. It is money that makes the mare go, the world 
over ; and the widow was wily enough to perform a 
number of religious vows — that of offering a lac of 
lighted lamps, among others — and to feast the Brahmans 
now and then ; so the portion of the panchiat that took 
lier part gradually grew so powerful, that the very 
ones who at first pronounced her sentence of excomuni- 
cation now stand expelled themselves. Then the 
Swami came along and reconciled the two parties, got 
jjersonally some two hundred rupees out of the widow, 
and had her hair shaved. The day after the grand hair- 
cutting ceremony, he had an entertainment at her house, 
when he first took the hastodaka f himself, and then had 

* Sfri or sekti, the Female Principle »r Durga — personified energy in 
the form of a goddess. Stri-vllya, the general knowledge of this 
principle, its worship and use. Stri-yantra, a talisnianic plate endow- 
ing the possessor with the power of using this energy. The final 
allusion to utri (woman) is a pun upon the technical use of the word, 
8uch priests being bound to celibacy. 

f When Brahmins sit down to their meal, the host or hostess pours 
into the hand of each guest the hcmtodaka, or ' hand- water,' with the 
grace, ' May this be to you the elixir of life.' To receive this water the 
right hand is held palm upward, the forefinger elevated, and the thumb 
laid along inside it. The chief guest first sips the water, after which all 
the others follow suit. 



l82 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

it served to all the Brahmans, and restored her to caste 
from that very day. 

'Where did this Swami reside during his former 
asrama V 

' He lived at ]\Iungonda-agrahara. He has four sons. 
'Twas only a little while after he entered this asrama 
that he paid off' the old debts upon his lands, got his 
four sons married, and presented each of his daughters- 
in-law with jewelry wortli two hundred rupees. His 
name is now Sri Chidananda Sankarabharati-swami, so 
they say/ 

At this stage of the conversation they reached the 
Kajah's palace. The Maharajah had already arrived, 
and was seated upon his throne. 

After reading and disposing of the petitions which his 
chief minister presented for his consideration, he ordered 
the thieves who had been brought from Pitapuram to 
be placed before him. Just then Eajasekhara, Subrah- 
manya, and Xrusimhaswami entered the court and took 
their seats in a place befitting their station. The Royal 
constables then conducted the burglars into their lord's 
presence, and took up a position beside them with drawn 
swords. The Eajah ran his eyes over the assembly and 
asked : ' Where are the persons who apprehended these 
thieves ?' Subrahmanya at once rose hi his place and 
respectfully replied that he was the person. His 
Highness immediately turned his gaze upon Eajasekhara 
and asked : ' Is this not your son ?' ' If it please your 
Highness,' replied Eajasekhara. ' And who,' again asked 
the Eajah, 'is he at your left ?' Eajasekhara now rose 
and, with joined hands, related at length how that he 
was his son-in-law ; how an ill-wisher had, while he 
was in Benares, brought them a groundless report of 
his death ; and how, after they had all gone off and left 
Eukmini, while she was unconscious from a blow 
inflicted by the highway robbers, she had revived, and 
afterwards happening to be in the village to which Sita 
was taken, returned to them in man's dress. The 
Maharajah manifested his deep interest in the remark- 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 183 

al)le narrative by repeatedly shaking his liead ; and, 
after a moment's silence, turned towards the prisoners. 
' What,' he demanded, ' have you gob to say lor your- 
selves V 

' What remains for us to say,' replied Niladri-rajah, 
' in the worshipful presence of a ruler who is cognizant 
of all things ? We will not profess ourselves to be 
innocent. Your Highness is ever actuated by the most 
perfect kindness of heart, and we humbly crave that 
your indulgence may be extended towards us.' 

' What is your native country ? Where have you 
lived since your boyhood ? And what is your history V 

' My history is a most remarkable one, I confess I 
should be ashamed to relate it ; but since a person of 
so exalted a rank desires to hear my story, I will tell 
it frankly. Whenever I am unemployed my conscience 
brings to my recollection the many evil deeds I have 
committed in the past, and tormenDs me iu a thousand 
ways. At night it will not let me sleep. Even iu my 
dreams I start up in a fright thinking the royal consta- 
bles are carrying me off to punish me for the terrible 
crimes I have committed. Besides this, old age is now 
upon me, and I cannot live long. Whenever I think 
of this my body quakes through fear of the emissaries 
of Satan. The ancients say that those who receive 
chastisement from the king are not punished by the 
devil. So I desire you to punish me for my sins in 
order that I may enjoy happiness hereafter.' 

* Very good. Granted that your history is as remark- 
able as you represent it to be, let us hear it at greater 
length. All present here will be very glad to listen.' 

' My native place is Kalahasti. Although my parents 
were not very rich, they belonged to a most respectable 
branch of the Sudra caste. As I was their only son I 
was bred with great indulgence. No matter what I 
said I wanted, they immediately gave it me. When I 
was five years of age however, they sent me to school, 
presenting the master with a web of girdle-cloth at the 
same time. This master had been unable to get a 



184 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

living in any other way, and had entered the profession 
of corpse-carrying ; when growing old, he at last came 
to our village and opened a school as a means of sub- 
sistence, although lie had never learned to read when 
young. Not a single particle of instruction could he 
impart, but he made up for this unimportant defect by 
showering upon our unlucky backs a Icic of blows for 
every letter in the alphabet. But he was very good to 
those who gave him money ; and I used to make over 
to him half the money my parents allowed me for small 
feed, and so escaped the beatings, For this reason he 
became exceedingly fond of me and put me in charge 
of the school, telling my parents that he knew no boy 
possessed of such good sense as their son. And from 
my very childhood I certainly was a most clever and 
ingenious lad. Although by my ingenuity I never 
brought my father and mother even so much as a 
drilled cowrie's worth of gain, but simply loss, yet they, 
good souls, rejoiced to think me smart. I used to 
employ my whole stock of cleverness solely in deceiving 
others. Had I devoted half as much care to the learn- 
ing of some trade as I did to learning the art of roguery, 
how rich I might have been by this time! But let that 
go. After securing the management of the school I 
used to threaten the children that I would report them 
to the master and have them beaten, and in this way 
possessed myself of their eatables as bribes not to tell. 
While things were moving on in this way, by my ill 
luck the master died. At that time a master was 
counted able in proportion as he beat excessively. An 
educated master had already established a school in our 
village, but as he was kind to the children and wouldn't 
undertake to beat them Mathout some reason, people 
wouldn't send their children to him at all. But there 
was now no second master in the village, and so it 
unluckily became necessary to send all our children 
there. But I couldn't get off any of my former pranks 
at all on this new master. About that time my father 
suddenly contracted heart disease and passed into the 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 185 

other world. And as he breathed his last without any 
intimation whatever as to where he had buried his 
money, old Mother Misfortune came all the quicker and 
took us under her wing. There was at that time study- 
ing in our school a young fellow, son of one of our rich 
neighbours. He was excessively fond of study. I 
struck up a friendship, gave him much of my confidence, 
and made him my chum generally. Some, when they 
repose confidence in anyone, are content to give their 
heart along with it. 1 was a crafty chap and didn't 
fall into this trap. Though I bestowed a thousand con- 
fidences, in no case did I reveal my real thoughts, but 
kept them carefully concealed. By this means I de- 
ceived him in many ways and obtained money again 
and again. What jugglery there was in the matter, I 
don't know ; it mattered not how many frauds I prac- 
tised upon him to obtain money, I was still poor and he 
rich. In proportion as he advanced in his education I 
became skilled in gaming. I abandoned study for the 
companionship of wicked associates, and began to bet 
and gamble. So ensnared by this vice did I become 
that I even carried off things from the house by theft 
or violence, and disposed of them to the master of the 
game. But all this time I did not forget my obliga- 
tions to my neighbour's son. In this way I passed my 
sixteenth year. My friend now came of age and be- 
came master of a house of his own ; and having a 
relish i'or learning, he spent his whole time in scholarly 
pursuits. One day I went to him and told him my 
circumstances — how my father had been a trader, and I 
was desirous of engaging in trade as well — and begged 
him to assist me by advancing some money as capital. 
Eeplying that he himself would be my partner, he 
lianded me two hundred rupees, binding me at the same 
time by a compact that I was to do the work, that ho 
should take no interest, and that each should have half 
the profits. Miserably small as our profits were, I did 
all the work, and so 1 soon began to quarrel with my 
friend for a larger share of the gains. Kings, though 



I86 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

they have kingdoms to enjoy, fight with one another 
and die ; while hyragis who possess nothing more than 
a mere clout are content to live without quarrelling. 
One who is satisfied with what God has given him will 
have few troubles ; but if once he become dissatisfied 
and possessed by the devil of desire, his troubles know 
no end. But my friend was a very fine fellow and 
generous to a fault. One day he called me in and said: 
' " As you have been a trader from the very first, 
you're naturally fond of money. T, on the other hand, 
am fond only of this wealth of learning. Provided you 
are not hard up for creature comforts, the mere posses- 
sion of money delights you. But as far as I am con- 
cerned, it is sufficient if I live respectably. So do you 
take these two hundred rupees," said he, making over to 
me the money he had advanced. Overjoyed that I had 
gotten it into my own hands, I shut up shop and began 
to gamble day and night with greater assiduity than 
ever, and in a few months had squandered everything 
and become a beggar. Then I repented of my rashness. 
I hadn't even enough to eat. So one day I went to my 
friend in patched clothes and praised his former kind- 
ness in various ways, and told him unreservedly the 
sad plight I was in. When he learned my condition he 
was deeply grieved ; but knowing that if 1 had money 
in hand I would waste it, he wrote a note to a friend 
and sent me off with it. As soon as I had delivered 
the letter he assigned me a position on a salary of ten 
rupees per montii and told me to come back at noon. 
By the time I had been a couple of months at that 
business it became intolerable. And then because I 
used to make the articles that stuck to me when 1 was 
alone vanish by sleight of hand, my master exploded 
right and left and abused me terribly. Besides this, it 
didn't suit my disposition to be subordinate and always 
to do just as I was told. I have naturally a desire to 
be like a Maharajah. So I left that work and came 
home and sat with one leg over the other and lived 
happily as long as I could raise a loan by con- 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 187 

tinually borrowing from all who would trust me. 
While thus living unemployed I would never follow 
the kind advice ot' others, but I was exceedingly diligent 
in asking such advice, aud in this way learned a lot of 
moral axioms. I considered that even though my ethics 
were never of any use to myself, they might at least 
benefit others. In this way I got the name of being a 
great man, aud began to grow rich by giving apt 
counsel to fools. But you see, my own walk was not 
straight ; and one day along came a man of real piety 
and asked me if, while I was preaching so much 
morality, my own conduct was upright. " Of course," 
replied I as became the occasion ; " it is only because 
morality is of no use to me that I abandon it to you. 
If it benefited me in the least, do you think I'd allow a 
single particle of it to escape my hold ?" I. concluded, 
however, that I could do no further business in my 
native place ; so I left hastily with the intention of 
going to foreign parts. Once off, I rested for a day only 
in each village, did not sleep in the village in which I 
ate my meals, and travelled incessantly. One day just 
outside a village I saw a large flock of goats, and 
wondering how the shepherd could care for so many, 
out of sheer pity for him I put a couple of kids on my 
shoulder and walked off, on the principle that to lighten 
his burden but a little was still to lighten it some. 
Seeing me carry off her kids the mother came running 
after me bleating. I thought it would be a sin for the 
mother to leave the children, so I drove her along too. 
The shepherd saw how matters stood and came running 
after me shouting, " Stop thief !" Up to that moment I 
had been afraid I would be very late in reaching 
the next village ; but spurred on by his shouts I got 
there in a twinkling, and turned and looked back, 
pleased with my success. He had been unable to over- 
take my pace, and fearing that some one would carry 
off the remaining goats, had just at that moment 
turned about. In a neighbourmg village I sold the 
mother and kids and retained the money for my travel- 



l88 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

ling expenses. A few days later I reached Kondavid, 
where I turned yogi. Announcing that I had in my 
possession a Seetarama-y antra* and that all who be- 
held it would become enormously wealthy, I placed a 
stone image in my room and began to show it sub rosa 
at the rate of a penny a head. Xo matter how vile an 
object be, 'twill increase immensely in respectability by 
keeping it concealed. Just as the vulgar herd give 
alms to the priests for the sake of seeing for themselves 
what the idols in the temples at the sacred shrines are 
like, so all the people were fetching me presents, and 
coming and going in crowds to see that stone image ! 
Once seen, everybody began to regard it with contempt 
as only an ordinary stone such as you can see in the 
street, just as they do those ugly idols carved by awk- 
ward workmen. It is an undeniable fact that had I 
shown in the street for a single day the stone I placed 
in the house and exhibited as a Seetarama-yantra, 
the next day not one would have had the slightest 
desire to look at it. During the time I passed as a yogi 
I attained great celebrity both in magic and in witch- 
craft. Everybody boasted of my skill. Even my 
incantations were listened to by all with as much 
eagerness as were the tales of the demons I undertook 
to exorcise. But as the former, like the latter, served 
only the more to increase the fears of those who heard 
them, the villagers began to be alarmed as to what 
enchantment I might practise. 

' While I was making money and living happily by 
this trick I fell sick, and although formerly I had 
preached up to any number of people that death was 
simply union with God, and that they should rejoice to 
attain to it, I now began to fear that I was going to die. 
Call any yogi you please, and ask him if he has any 
fear of death, and he will reply without hesitation that 
he has not ; but wait until he gets a little sick — you 
may then see by his conduct that he is even a greater 
coward than the fools about him. While I was thus 

* A talismanic image. 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 189 

palming myself off as a yogi, it mattered not what yogi 
was praised in my hearing, I'd belittle him for a nobody. 
Is it not a rule that when the worthy are desirous of 
gaining a good name the unworthy take every pains to 
destroy their reputation and make it as mean as their 
own? 

' As I have related, I assumed many disguises, and at 
last became a byragi, when I took these two on as 
disciples, entered Dhavalesvaram under the name of 
Chidananda-yogi, fooled even Eajasekhara herewith my 
promises of gold, and carried off these jewels that have 
just now been brought to your Highness. After leaving 
there I shaved off my beard and moustache and came to 
Pitapuram as Niladri-rajah, where, with the help of 
these fellows, I walked off with the money in the 
Eajah's treasury. My wonderful exploits in these two 
places, as well as my conduct, Eajasekhara and his son 
can well relate ; and besides, it is unseemly to praise 
oneself ; so with this I shall stop.' 

After hearing this story the Maharajah reflected a 
moment and turned towards Padmanabhudu and said : 
* As you seem now to have come to your senses, and 
repented of your misdeeds, we have decided to imprison 
you for but one year.' He then wrote an order to the 
gaoler and despatched the prisoner to Samalkot in the 
custody of constables. He next bade his chief minister 
send off at once the money belonging to the Eajah of 
Pitapuram ; and, after expressing his high appreciation 
of Subrahmanya's conduct in the detection of the 
burglars, turned to Eajasekhara and addressed him thus : 

' Though it has been your lot to undergo so many 
trials in the past, you have survived all your misfor- 
tunes, and have now attained to a position such that 
you may live liappily. For this reason I am going to 
give you some friendly counsel. You will give your 
full attention to my remarks. To rise after a fall ia 
greatness, but there is nothing great, believe me, in 
never falling at all. Do you keep this truth in mind 
and cease to worry about trials which are past for ever. 



I90 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

Hereafter do not allow yourself to be puffed up by 
the flatteries of others. Do not spend more money tlian 
your income affords. It is possible for members of the 
same family to be most affectionate in their behaviour 
one toward another in the presence of outsiders, and to 
be deadly enemies the moment they reach home. So 
you must look after your family with such care that no 
defect of this kind shall exist in it. The best expedient 
for overcoming ill-will is undoubtedly the exercise of 
meekness. If we desire to pay off a grudge against 
anyone, and feel ourselves unable to do it, we should 
suppress our anger at least until we become wealthy. 
And even when we possess the power to gratify our 
thirst for revenge, if we can forgive the injury, even our 
enemies will become the wiser and better for our 
example. The toad that undertakes to bite will meet 
with just about as much success as will the poor man 
who undertakes to get the upperhand of a wealthy one. 
Who cares for anger that ends in empty threats ? Not 
only are we unable to achieve our object by such anger, 
but (and this is more important) we are sure to lose by 
it. It was because you flew into a rage at Sobhanadri- 
rajah, was it not, that you were incarcerated ? So do 
you never again get angry with those who are of higher 
rank than yourself. There are some senseless persons 
who would persuade one that there is no time like the 
past, and who would make one unhappy by imputing 
his faults to the age in which he lives. But on mature 
reflection it seems to me that the present age is in all 
respects a better one than the past. Merit and demerit 
exist in men's conduct, and not in the age that produces 
them. Do not, therefore, blame the times for your 
mistakes, but use your best endeavours to rectify your 
own conduct. If you have sufficient means to enable 
you to live with respectability, never worry because you 
have not more. Listen while I relate to you an ancient 
fable illustrative of this truth. Once upon a time a 
certain rich man was passing along the street decorated 
profusely with golden jewelry studded with precious 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 191 

stones. A beggar who happened to catch sight of him 
followed behind gazing upon the jewels, and saluting 
humbly again and again. Observing his peculiar con- 
duct the rich man exclaimed : " What, I haven't given 
you any of my jewels, have I ? Why do you do that ?" 
'' I do not want your jewels," replied the beggar, " but 
you allowed me to look at them, and for that reason I 
am saluting you. Even you can get no other good from 
tliese jewels than the pleasure of looking at them ; and 
besides, how much pains are you put to to guard them 
from accident. Now, it is for the very reason that I 
have no such trouble that I have so much happiness. 
Tliat is the difference between you and me, in a nutshell." 
So, although I am able to make you very rich, I shall 
not, for the reasons 1 have just mentioned ; but shall 
content myself witli merely redeeming your estates and 
restoring them to you. May you rest content with them 
and spend the remainder of your days in peace.' 

Having administered this sound advice the Maharajah 
asked llajasekhara whether he had any wish he desired 
to make known. Kajasekhara in reply eulogised the 
noble character of his lord, recounted the great kindness 
he had done his family, and begged him to release from 
imprisonment Manchirajah Papayya, who had rendered 
him such signal assistance in writing and sending the 
petition, and in many other ways, while in prison. 
Commending highly this exhibition of good feeling 
toward a whilom enemy who had done him injury, the 
Eajah at once despatched an order for the prisoner's 
release, and, having brought the proceedings to a close 
in due form, retired to his chamber. Thereupon 
Kajasekhara and the others present left the court and 
proceeded to their homes. 



192 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 



CHAPTER XV. 



Eajasekhara returns to his Native Place — Subralimanya's Marriage — 
Marriage of Sita — Rajasekliara, made wise by trials endured, 
passes the rest of his days iu peace. 

Lsr accordance with the Rajah's command Rajasekhara 
came the next day to court, when the Maliarajah 
Krishna Jagapati called one of his councillors and 
ordered a bag of rupees to be brought and placed before 
him. This money he then handed over to the councillor, 
bidding him take it to Dhavalesvram, and with it 
redeem Rajasekhara's house and lands, and restore them 
to him. He then turned to Rajasekhara and handed 
him four hundred rupees in addition to the amount he 
had already given. 'With this money,' said he, 'you 
are to conduct Subrahmanya and Sita's weddings. 
Never spend more than your income, and may you pass 
the remainder of your days in peace.' With these 
parting words the Rajah dismissed him. 

When Rajasekhara returned to Bhimavaram after 
taking leave of the Maharajah he learned that someone, 
a relative, had come from Jaggampeta, and was waiting 
at the house. On hearing this he hurried on home, 
where he found an aged brahman seated upon the 2^ial- 
On Rajasekhara asking him who he was, he replied that 
his family name was Bhavarajah, and that his own 
name was Suryanarayana. ' And are you not Rajase- 
khara ?' he inquired. 

' I am. On what business have you come V 

' A lad named Subbarayadu came to your house a little 
while ago. Where is he now ?' 

' So far as I know no lad of that name has come 
here.' 

' When the kidnappers carried off your daughter he 
brought her back here from our village. He had made 
a vow to Venkatesvara and grown his hair long. He 
was a very handsome lad. He told us that he was 
going to your house along with some Rajah or other. 
When little, he got his education from you, I think.' 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 193 

* What business have you with him V 

' He stayed at our place for some time. We were 
pleased with his ability and good looks, and as I have 
no male issue we decided to give him my daughter in 
marriage and keep him with us.' 

Eajasekhara now related to his visitor the story of 
Kakmini's assuming male attire under the name 
Subbarayadu, and the other wonderful events connected 
with their past history, and promised to marry the old 
Brahman's little girl to his son Subrahmanya. At this 
Suryanarayana was as delighted as a beggar who has 
found a magnificent fortune ; and, taking an immediate 
leave of Eajasekhara, he came back the next day, 
bringing his wife and daughter along with him. On 
the same day Eajasekhara had bandies brought and set 
out in the cool of the evening for Eajahmundry, which 
place he reached in two or three days in company with 
his new friend Suryanarayana. After spending a 
couple of days there at Eamamurti's house he gathered 
together the brass utensils he had placed in his safe 
keeping, took his cousin and his family also along to the 
wedding, and at length reached Dhavalesvaram in 
safety. 

The Maharajah's councillor who had come down from 
Peddapuram now released and made over to Eajase- 
khara his lands and house, and was about to return to 
his master, when Eajasekhara began to dissuade him 
with such persistency that he consented to remain until 
the wedding's of his host's son and daughter came off. 

No sooner was it known that Eajasekhara had re- 
turned to the place rich and redeemed his lands, than 
all the old friends who had kept out of sight when 
poverty fastened upon him, began to bestir themselves. 
A whole host of sycophants, who before would not 
vouchsafe a reply even when addressed, now began to 
circumambulate the house a half dozen times a day. 
The menial herd who formerly were never to be found 
when most wanted, now crowded the doorway from 
morning to night, without so much as a hint of coolyor 



194 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

wages. Both Eamasastri and the astrologer called, and, 
as usual, exhibited their learned ability in flattering our 
hero to his face — only with twice as much skill as 
before. But Eajasekhara had already had a taste of 
their art ; and these worthies discovered in him but few 
traces of that liberality and appreciativeness which had 
of old given them returns at the rate of a lac for each 
word they uttered. The astrologer, supposing that 
possibly it was he with whom Eajasekhara was angry, 
and desiring to be reinstated iu his good graces, brought 
over, with the aid of a cooly, the box of jewelry belong- 
ing to Damodarayya, which had been concealed in his 
house, and delivered it to Eajasekhara. Besides this, 
he began to praise Eajasekhara in the hearing of 
relatives and friends who would, he knew, carry his 
words to the right ears. The very mouth that had 
declared that he had never seen so bad a horoscope as 
Subrahmanya's, now that that critical period of the 
boy's existence was past, fell to lauding it as the most 
incomparable horoscope in the world. Hearing this, 
the parties who, in Eajasekhara's poverty, had refused 
to give their child, now began to revolve about Eajase- 
khara, and to pester him by all means to marry their 
daughters to Subrahmanya, even offering to give a 
dowry of four hundred rupees into the bargain. Though 
these people were wealthy and in the habit of giving 
their sons-in-law donations of money and other articles, 
Eajasekhara would none of their girls, but resolved to 
unite his son in marriage with Mahalaksmi, the daughter 
of Suryanarayana. 

So, with due regard to the auspiciousness of the time, 
Eajasekhara made a wedding for his son. Though there 
were those who averred that a wedding without music 
and dancing could not be lucky, he paid no heed to 
their remarks ; and considering that at a time so well 
calculated to teach conjugal fidelity they should have 
nothing to do with dancers, he spent but little for the 
songs of dancing women, but had some of the finest 
singers of the place render a number of religious hymns 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 195 

in their most pleasing manner. On the third day, when 
the time for distributing the gifts came, instead of 
presenting them to unworthy persons, he bestowed this 
honour, so far as he was able, upon a few worthy people 
and pandits only ; and to those people who remonstrated 
with him that, if he did not give presents to all the 
Brahmans present, they would feel very mean, he replied 
that it was certainly better to hang one's head during 
the five days of the wedding and to hold it high after- 
wards, than to carry it high for a few days and then, the 
prey of debt, to hang it for ever in shame ; and managed 
the whole affair precisely in accordance with his own 
wishes. On the ground that it was simply a waste of 
money to fill up the street with a great pandal and* 
open a choultry for the occasion, he invited and made 
\v'elcorae to dinner only relatives and friends. By con- 
ducting the wedding in this way, the expense was actually 
less than he had at first reckoned ; so he took the 
remainder of the money and had some jewels made for 
his daughter-in-law. 

Three days after the son's wedding came to an end, 
Rajasekhara bestowed Sita's hand upon his nephew 
Sankarayya. This second wedding was in all respects 
exactly similar to that which had just preceded it. On 
both of these occasions the promiscuous and surreptitious 
snatching of plates from one another at dinner, stupid 
horse-play, and the indecent practice of raising pande- 
monium at pleasure, without distinction of sex, while 
sprinkling odiferous powder and scarlet water after the 
final ceremony, were abandoned. Those who were 
deprived of the power to earn a living, by such bodily 
defects as lameness and blindness ; poor people who had 
fallen into their wretched condition through no fault of 
their own, but by the act of God ; pandits who were 
upright in conduct and versed in all branches of learning ; 
and the confessedly pious : these only were honoured 
with gifts of money. 

* Pandal. a light shed of open bamboos covered with palmira-leaves. 
Here dinner is served to all of the same caste who care to partake of it. 

13—2 



196 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

After these two events had passed off in due form, 
the councillor who had come down from Peddapuram 
one day approached Eajasekhara and begged that he 
might be excused, as he had to take his departure with- 
out delay. 

' Since you yielded to my entreaty and remained 
these past ten days, you must please me by staying for 
the finale as well before you think of leaving.' 

* You really must excuse me and let me go at once. 
A letter has just now reached me, which states that 
Acharya-swami, who had come to our village before we 
set out for this place, has written a bull of excommuni- 
cation, or something of that sort, against my nephew, ou 
the plea that when he sent in his pastoral letter, my 
nephew, instead of immediately forking out the rupees, 
treated the matter with indifference ; that for the pasi 
three days no one will cross his threshold, and that even 
now neither will the barber come to shave him nor the 
washerman to wash the clothes. If his Eeverence the 
Swami excommunicates, the neighbours will neither 
give fire nor allow one to draw water from their wells.' 

' Why, the swamis should abandon all such passions 
as avarice and desire for revenge, and be the meekest of 
the meek. Do they inflict such severe punishment for 
so small a fault ?' 

' So far as the mere name goes you may call him a 
Swami ; but the truth is, he's got the worst temper in the 
world. What you see now is nothing at all. Why, 
only last year this very stuami while in Chicaole cracked 
a joke of some kind with the wife of the master of a 
house where he was being entertained, and the man 
happening to overhear it said nothing, through fear 
that if he reproved a priest he would be fined, but at the 
close of the feast merely declined to give a contribution ; 
when what do you think the sivami did ? — expelled 
him for three months and then took fifty rupees from 
the poor fellow and made him undergo penance before 
he would receive him into caste again. Unless I go at 
once and induce my nephew to beg forgiveness on con- 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 197 

dition of paying a fine, the thing will not be hushed up. 
So do not force me to stay longer, but send me on my 
way this very day.' 

' When you represent matters in this light, it certainly 
would be wrong to detain you longer,' replied Kajasek- 
hara, as he tied about him some new cloths. So, after 
doing him every honour that lay in his power, and in- 
structing him as to the messages he was to convey, with 
Eajasekhara's deepest gratitude, to the Maharajah, he 
gave his guest leave. Shortly afterwards the numerous 
guests who had come in for the wedding returned to 
their respective homes, 

A few days after hearing that Eajasekhara had re- 
turned to the place rich, Narayanamurti called one day 
and informed Eajasekhara as a secret that he and 
Damodarayya had been bosom friends, that at the time 
of Damodarayya's death the villagers, for no other 
reason than that he was the dead man's friend, had 
stolen all his household stuff, and that he was now hard 
pressed even for food and clothing, and — would not 
Eajasekhara render him a little assistance ? 

* It is not possible for me,' replied Eajasekhara, ' to 
show kindness to such an iugrate and violator of friend- 
ship as you are. It mattered not how much good I did 
you, when I got into difficulties and craved your assist- 
ance you refused it and turned your back upon me even 
though able to help. Though Damodarayya was your 
bosom friend you thought to make away with the box 
which he committed to your care, instead of handing it 
over to the son of your dead friend. 

' It was the astrologer himself who first suggested to 
me that I should hide the box in his house, and who 
hinted that it would be a very easy matter to make 
away with it. After I had delivered the cash box to 
him he quarrelled with me for a half share of the con- 
tents, and when I, unwilling to see a friend's money 
come into possession of a stranger, refused to agree to 
his proposal, he brought the box to you for the sake of 
your good will.' 



198 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

' Even though the astrologer did urge you to it, you 
are the guilty party, and in no way can you show your- 
self to be innocent. It is by your own premeditated 
crime that this misfortune has come upon you, and 
there is no way out of it but for you to enjoy the fruit 
of your foil}'.' 

With these biting words Eajasekhara sent him about 
his business without rendering him a single anna's 
assistance. 

From that time onward Rajasekhara, having gained 
dear experience from the conduct of the astrologer and 
others of that ilk, took good care never to allow himself 
to be puffed up by empty adulations, nor to squander 
his money, and steadily refused to believe anyone his 
friend who approached him with oily words. Through 
the base trick which the yogi had practised upon him 
he was convinced that all of that name were at the best 
only gluttons. He became, too, a firm disbeliever in 
mantras and alchemy, with all kindred arts. As for 
the demons with which Eukmini had but a short time 
before been possessed, as well as witch-doctoring, divina- 
tion, and similar impostures — since everybody's belief 
in such deceptions had evaporated, such a thing as 
demoniacal possession, or symptoms of enchantment, or 
divine inspiration, was never afterwards known in the 
family. From the circumstance tl)at the horoscopes of 
the members of his family, as well as the numerous 
lucky times determined for various events, invariably 
turned out in a manner directly opposite to that prog- 
nosticated, both Rajasekhara and his descendants 
became disbelievers in astrology as well. On account 
of the trials he had undergone through debts contracted 
for gratuities at Eukmini^s wedding, Eajasekhara 
determined never again to go in debt. From that time 
onward he wasted no money on useless show, but 
continued most moderate in all his expenditure ; and, 
content with wliat God had granted him, bestowed upon 
the poor alms of what he possessed. Preserving truth 
and kindheartedness inviolate even in his dreams — 



FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 199 

treasuring ever in his heart the golden maxim that 
• Virtue is victory ' — and departing not the length of a 
fly's foot from the path of righteousness, he conducted 
himself honestly in the sight of all men, gained the 
reputation in the land of being a good man, and spent 
the rest of his days in affluence and happiness, sur- 
rounded by numerous grandsons and granddaughters. 
While his father was yet alive Subrahmanya attained to 
a lucrative position in the Pitapuram Court, finally 
became mantri* and won a name unrivalled for 
statesmanship and justice. The two sons-in-law obtained 
employment in the court of the Maharajah of Pedda- 
puram, and gradually rose to eminence and great 
celebrity. Besides these particular members of Eajase- 
khara's family, many of his numerous host of relatives, 
too, who by dishonest practices had enjoyed the 
pleasures of sin for a season, learned by Rajasekhara's 
upright walk that honesty is the only source of enduring 
good, and finally entered the path he trod so un- 
erringly. 

Beholding with his own eyes that same astrologer's 
daughter, who when a girl was said to be haunted by 
her dead husband, now a woman grown, elope (taking 
with her all she could lay hands upon in the house) 
with another woman's living husband, go to the bad, 
and at last take to walking the streets of the town 
before her father's very eyes — beholding the miseries 
endured by unfortunate women who had lost their 
husbands in their early youth — beholding such women, 
unable to withstand the uncontrollable promptings of 
desire, become entangled in the net of libertines and 
ruin of both body and soul — and beholding others, fear- 
ful of the anathemas of their caste, surrender them- 
selves secretly to such horrible crimes as infanticide 
and abortion — Ptajasekhara's heart melted with pity, 
and he set himself to work with the determination to 
make a strenuous effort to alleviate the crying misery 
of these wretched child-widows. But, unable to con- 

• I.e., Prime Minister. 



300 FORTUNE'S WHEEL. 

vert to his views the consummately ignorant people, 
and pandits who were really fools through inspiration 
of the demon of custom, Eajasekhara, unsuccessful in 
his noble efforts, shortly departed to a better world. 
Although two hundred years have now passed away 
since Eajasekhara departed this life, the descendants of 
those whose condition was ameliorated through his 
noble efforts still eulogize his sterling worth. Rajase- 
khara's descendants themselves have spread over the 
whole country, and have, in many places, attained to 
great eminence. 



THE END. 



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